THE BRITISH Council marked its 45th anniversary in the Philippines with the launch of new and expanded United Kingdom (UK) programs in arts, English, education, and research.

“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,” said Lotus Postrado, country director of British Council in the Philippines, in a March 30 press statement.

In the English front, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities will expand its network of English testing centers across the Philippines. It will likewise continue to offer its annual IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Prize, a scholarship program open to students who have taken the IELTS from the British Council.

In education, the British Council provides resources for students who would like to pursue degrees abroad through Study UK, the UK’s campaign that promotes the country’s higher education options.

“We are seeing that the UK remains to be one of the top study destinations for Filipino students who aspire to widen their horizons,” according to head of education Pierre Pecson, in the same press statement.

“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,” he added.

For arts, meanwhile, grants have been made available for the Filipino music industry, starting with delegates for Brighton’s music industry conference, The Great Escape, scheduled on May 10-13.

The British Council has also pledged to continue its support of sustainable crafting in 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, with a showcase slated in November 2023.

The British Council’s research initiatives, on the other hand, include the 2023 launch of Science Beyond Borders, an anthology on the stories of program scholars and partners, as supported by the Newton Agham Program, a UK and Philippines partnership.

Its Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) scholarships, which offer postgraduate scholarships in the UK for Filipinas, is on its third run as well.

“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,” said Danie Son Gonzalvo, education program manager. “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.” — Patricia Mirasol