Making Universities Fit for the ASEAN Community: SHARE’s Third Policy Dialogue, co-organised with MOET in Vietnam
SHARE’s Third SHARE Policy Dialogue was held in Hanoi, Vietnam on 8-9 June 2016 with the theme “Making Universities Fit for The ASEAN Community: Enhancing Internationalisation through Student Mobility Tools”. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam (MOET), this two-day event brought together 120 high-level education officials, university managers, academics and students from Vietnam, ASEAN Member States and the EU.
The policy dialogue focused on the tools necessary to enhance mobility of students in the ASEAN region, especially credit transfer systems and scholarship schemes. The discussions are a stepping-stone on ASEAN’s path towards a the creation of a vibrant higher education area, which will boost competitiveness of ASEAN Member States as well as of ASEAN as a whole.
“Internationalisation is a key strategy for any modern university. Making our universities in Vietnam fit for the opportunities and challenges that arise form the ASEAN Community is a crucial element in our higher education strategy. A programme like SHARE is a very good tool to support the necessary development of systems and frameworks to realise this strategy,” said Prof. Phung Xuan Nha, Minister of Education and Training of Vietnam and former Rector of Vietnam National University Hanoi. The Minister hosted a welcome reception for all participants in the evening of 9 June 2016.
“The EU is very pleased to bring its wealth of expertise from the European Bologna Process to support ASEAN through the SHARE programme in building its own scholarship scheme and regional systems,” said EU Ambassador to Vietnam Bruno Angelet, and: “The European Erasmus scholarship scheme is known worldwide as the gold standard in exchange programmes. Millions of European students have benefitted from the scheme not only through their academic qualifications but also by experiencing Europe on a personal level. This has had a profound impact on regional building in Europe.” Ambassador Angelet spoke at the opening of the Policy Dialogue. At the evening reception, both he and EU Ambassador to ASEAN Francisco Fontan Pardo spoke and congratulated SHARE and MOET.
Rodora T. Babaran, Director of Human Development at the ASEAN Secretariat, highlighted the ASEAN dimension: “An effective regional higher education system centred on an ASEAN scholarship scheme for students will be an important element of realising the vision of a truly people-centred ASEAN community.”
Highlights from the event
Our keynote speakers Dr Losada, Head of the Universite Sorbonne Paris Cite Office in Singapore and Dr Phan Quang Hung, Director General, Vietnam International Education Department articulately set the scene for the debate, giving both a European and Vietnamese perspective on international student mobility. Tasked with building a regional higher education system inspired by the highly successful European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and ERASMUS plus scheme, the key ASEAN stakeholders and policy makers, ASED and SOM-ED, have many of the necessary elements already in place: a governance structure, supported by the ASEAN secretariat and regional student mobility schemes (AIMS and AUN), set within an ASEAN credit transfer system (ACTS).
However, as national higher education systems grow and evolve, to find their fit within a global architecture, building synergies and links between the sometimes fragmented existing tools and platforms across ASEAN will be key to states’ transition to knowledge economies. Policy makers across ASEAN and universities must work together to embrace Learning Outcomes, Learning Agreements and flexibility in study career paths. This will encourage the young populations of ASEAN to become integrated into the rapidly evolving labour markets. The link between mobile young talent with an international mind-set and the realisation of the ASEAN Communities overall aspirations relies heavily upon enhancing the connectivity and comparability between national systems, structures and agreements.
With more than 6,000 HE institutions and over 15 million enrolled students across ten countries, the HE landscape in ASEAN is naturally very diverse. So how can ASEAN develop the necessary mobile human capacity to meet its future needs?
Sitting alongside this evolving landscape is the experience from Bologna, which was eloquently described by our keynote speaker on day two, Dr Stefan Delplace, Honorary Secretary General of EURASHE. This demonstrated that European institutional practices and student experiences have provided a wealth of analysis, from which we can draw many reference points.
This is where SHARE has a real window to bring that experience to bear, where appropriate, and build upon and work that has already been achieved across ASEAN, enhancing the flow and exchange of information to further develop transparency tools such as quality assurance, qualification frameworks and credit transfer systems. Doing this at the university level as well as system level will help realise the ASEAN Higher Education space in a deeper way, in turn fostering more regional co-operation on learning outcomes and credit transfer.
It was clear from the student panel session at this Policy Dialogue that there is a real appetite for an international study experience, linked to an awakening of what it means to have an ASEAN identity amongst graduates that, after all, will become the leaders of tomorrow. There remains much work to do in widening access to extend such opportunities to a more diverse student body from varied social and educational backgrounds.
The workshop elements during our two day debate, produced a lively exchange of ideas, focused usefully on internationalisation through mobility tools, as an integral part of building the necessary trust and understanding that will enhance exchange opportunities between students, academics, and institutions, for the ultimate benefit of ASEAN societies. They encompass provisions and agreements that facilitate the implementation of mobility through credit based learning outcomes, mutually recognised transcripts, learning agreements, student charters and credit transfer and accumulation. They can be used in face to face dialogues with students or can be blended with on-line platforms to make curricula more transparent and enhance the quality of higher education.
Through embracing and enhancing internationalisation we can encourage students to develop an ASEAN identity and mind-set, empowering them to act as agents of change in boosting regional integration, ultimately driving ASEAN’s competiveness in a complex global higher education landscape.
The final word is perhaps best left to one of the student panel speakers Monica Dwiyanti, from Indonesia, who summed up her exchange experience in just five words: “New things, New perspectives: Priceless!”
The programme book, presentation materials, and a collection of photos of the third SHARE Policy Dialogue are available as the following:
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