EducationPress Release

In its 45th year in the Philippines, British Council launches new and expanded UK programs

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — To mark its 45th anniversary in the Philippines, the British Council, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, is strengthening its commitment to support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding, and trust with the expansion of arts, English, education, and research programs for Filipinos.  

“Over the last 45 years, the British Council has established itself in the Philippines as one of the leaders in international education and cultural relations. We have worked directly with thousands of students, educators, policymakers, academics, researchers, creatives, and entrepreneurs in the Philippines, helping them gain the skills, confidence, and connections to transform their lives and shape a better world. This year, we are committed to continuing to explore and expand on where we can bring impact – from market insights for international education to the UK’s vibrant arts and creative industries, and all matters that can further strengthen the UK-Filipino linkages,” shared Lotus Postrado, Country Director of British Council in the Philippines. 

Expanding education and English proficiency programs  

The British Council prioritizes programs supporting quality, inclusion, and innovation in higher education and is offering resources for students who would like to pursue degrees abroad through Study UK. “We are seeing that the UK remains to be one of the top study destinations for Filipino students who aspire to widen their horizons. The UK’s Graduate Route enables international students who complete their degrees to stay in the UK for post-study opportunities for two or three years,” said Pierre Pecson, Head of Education. “Students who have studied in the UK can also have access to fellow alumni and exclusive webinars and events that can make the most out of their UK education through our Alumni UK platform,” he added.


In 2019, the organization supported crafting the Transnational Education Law, which expanded access to educational services through the establishment and administration of transnational higher education (TNE). The law aims to accelerate TNE partnerships between foreign and local universities, increasing access of Filipino students to international quality education standards and degree programs. Through TNE, Filipinos can earn qualifications from both the UK and the Philippines. Currently, there are eight UK-Philippines partnerships created under the British Council projects, and the organization is working on growing more collaborations for this year. 

Through its flagship program, Access and Competitiveness through Internationalisation of Higher Education (ACT-IHE), the British Council will be able to develop new degrees in support of the CHED’s TNE strategy and make them accessible to more Filipinos in the future. 

The British Council will also expand its network of English testing centers nationwide. “We are working on opening more IELTS (International English Language Testing System) on Computer centers in the Philippines to make it more accessible for Filipinos to take the English test,” Mike Cabigon, Business Development Manager for Exams, said. “We have enabled over half a million Filipinos to fulfill their dream to live, work, or study overseas through our English and Exams initiatives, and we hope to continue to be enablers in the achievement of our fellow Filipinos’ dreams and aspirations,” Mike added. 

As part of the organization’s initiatives to support English and Education, the British Council will also continue to offer its annual IELTS Prize, a scholarship program supporting students to pursue their studies in higher education. The program is open for students who have taken the IELTS from the British Council to apply for admission into local or overseas universities and will begin its application process in the coming months. 

Strengthening Philippine Research  

Another important part of the British Council’s work is supporting research projects through grants and partnerships. This includes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiatives in the Philippines, alongside other fields such as social sciences, education, and sustainability. 

This year, the organization is launching the collection of stories through Science Beyond Borders, an anthology of case studies on research partnerships that documents the stories of program scholars, program partners, and their contributions as supported by the Newton Agham Programme, a joint initiative of the UK and the Philippines in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and CHED. Through its nine-year run, Newton Agham Programme has supported research on national priorities of the Philippines – from health sciences and agrotechnology to resilience and energy, among many others. 

The British Council also recently launched its third run for the Women in STEM scholarships, offering postgraduate scholarships for Filipinas to further their studies in the UK. This is to empower more women to pursue careers in STEM, while also opening them to opportunities worldwide.  

“Championing professionals in the research and sciences are essential in advancing knowledge and programs that address various societal concerns, as well as capacity building and boosting the Philippines’ global competitiveness,” Danie Son Gonzalvo, Education Programme Manager, said. “The launch of Science Beyond Borders and the ongoing Women in STEM program is a way for us to support these talents and contribute to the country’s nation-building,” he added. 

Supporting the Philippines’ creative economy 

The British Council’s work in the arts focuses on three areas: Cultural Exchange, Creative Economy and Art’s Response to Global Challenges.  

For cultural exchange, the organization has lined up grants that aim to empower the Filipino music industry, starting with supporting delegates for Brighton’s music industry conference, The Great Escape. The British Council announced its grantees, Mike Constantino (Founder and CEO, Homonym) and Cattski Espina (Founder and CEO, 22 Tango Music Group) who will then be sharing their learnings with the broader industry through the SONIK Music Expert Session, planned in June 2023. “The Philippines has a vibrant music industry with artists coming from all over the nation. Through SONIK, we hope to inspire local artists to get opportunities in the global music scene and build themselves as professionals through the series of learning sessions showing best practices with UK music experts,” Mich Dulce, Head of Arts, said. 

Aside from the Great Escape delegation, the British Council is also supporting another grantee, Paul Jaytana, co-founder of Elephant, to speak at Sound City Liverpool where he will be part of the panel and will share about gender equality in the music scene. 

The organization is also continuing its support of sustainable crafting under the second phase of its Woven Networks program, in partnership with Forest Foundation Inc. Four grantees will receive support to work with UK collaborators to implement projects, culminating with a showcase in November 2023. 

Combating climate change is a cross-cutting theme in the organization’s work, and this year, the British Council will be teaming up with Active Vista Center for the Climate Film Lab, in partnership with the UK organization, Picture People. This project focuses on creative education, empowering creatives with skills, knowledge, and confidence to use visual media and technology to advocate for change. 

On the creative economy side, the British Council continues its partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to support the national government in building up the Philippines’ creative economy, connecting the Philippines to the UK to learn from the UK’s best practices for the creative industries.


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