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JIB Venture to bring in thousands of Chinese students to study English in Davao City

-The Mindanao Daily Mirror-

Thousands of Chinese national are expected to swarm Davao City in the next five to ten years biginning this year with the partnership entered into by the Joji Ilagan-Bian (JIB) Foundation and iStudy Brainmaster Philippines Inc., yesterday.

In yesterday's memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing both parties agreed to bring Chinese students in Davao City to study a one year course on English language and a four year college degree course particularly on business administration in the succeeding years.

JIB foundation chair Joji Ilagan-Bian said the foundation and iStudy are targeting to ferry to davao city 5,000 to 10,000 Chines students in the next 5 to 10 years.

This however is expected to double to 20, 000 Chinese nationals as families and relatives of the chinese students who will be studying in the city will visit their siblings.  Aside from this purpose, they are also expected to explore trade and investment activities in the city.

Bian said, it's like hitting many birds in one stone since the partnership will boost not only the education sector but will also open opportunities for the tourism and investment sectors.

She said the Chinese students will be bileted in first class hotels with world-standard facilities in the city at two students per hotel room.

Under the MOU, iStudy Brainmaster Philippines Inc., a newly created corporation based in Manila will provide the funds and send to JIB Foundation the Chinese students and study in JIB schools and its partner schools specifically the Rizal Memorial Colleges, Davao Doctors College and Davao Medical School Foundation.  She however said JIB Foundation is willing to partner with other schools interested to enter into partnership with the foundation.

iStudy president Rodolfo Lee in an interview said, they have also entered similar partnership with various schools in the country.

He said they are targeting to bring in 55,000 Chinese students to study in about 20 schools in the next five years nationwide with acorresponding investment of P 1 billion.

Lee said, although i Study is a new corporation, it has been engaged in several investments in the country for the past several years now.

Bian said JIB foundation and iStudy will be piloting 100 students in August this year.

She clarified that iStudy will be paying JIB Foundation as provided in the partnership agreement.

iStudy chief finance officer Beverly de los Santos said the company chose the Philippines to ferry Chinese students because it is the best English language speaking country in Asia.

She said the vision of JIB and iStudy is to open the doors for tourism and investment to the Chinese market in the Philippines since that China is currently the emergence economy of scale in the world.

Lee however said, iStudy will not confine itself to the China market as it is also eyeing to capture students from Indonesia, India, and Chinese Malaysian students.

Department of Tourism (DOT) 11 Regional Director Art Boncato described the partnership as "early fireworks" for the city's and region's tourism sector.

He said the partnership is complimentary to DOT 11's target to make China as its top visitors this year and onwards.

In Region 11, China climbed to fourth from the eighth most number of arrivals in 2010 with almost 1 million arrivals in Davao City and almost 2 million in the entire region.

Hea said the city is ready to accommodate the forthcoming Chinese students with about 5,000 hotel rooms available and counting with the upcoming new investments in hotel development in the city.  -By: Judy Quiros-1/26/2011