Philippines ranks highly for low-cost English study (ABC Radio Australia)

The Philippines says it is pleasantly surprised by the significant rise in overseas students enrolling to learn English or study at its English-speaking universities.

According to some reports, the Philippines is fast becoming the world's low-cost English language teacher.

Philippine Education Secretary Armin Luistro says the country has seen a huge jump in enrolments over the past year.

"We've been monitoring the number of foreign students enrolling in our tertiary education units, and we realised that around 7,000 last year has ballooned to 24,000 or more this year."

The minister has told Radio Australia's Connect Asia the increase in enrolments affirms the Philippines' competitiveness as a regional provider of English language services.

"Essentially, English is spoken in the Philippines as a second language. We start with English as early as grade one," Mr Luistro said.

"The cost of living in the Philippines is actually comparable with many of the other developing countries, and certainly it is much less than what they would pay if they did that in a developing country.

"The environment itself allows many experiences where they can practice English outside the classroom."

Mr Luistro says most of the students are coming from Korea, the Middle East and China.

"In the past we were not to keen on opening up higher education to foreigners," he said.

"But the growing number of interested applicants tell us that maybe this is an area we should be working on, ensuring that their entry in the country will be facilitated."

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