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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  25 August 2015  

ASEAN, EU to Focus on Quality Assurance in ASEAN Higher Education

JAKARTA, 24 August 2015 – Today, the ASEAN and European Union Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region (SHARE) Project commenced the first in a series of SHARE's policy dialogues. High-level education officials, academicians and researchers from ASEAN Member States and other project stakeholders are attending this two-day event being held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.

"Through this inaugural Policy Dialogue, we aim to map existing cooperation on higher education in ASEAN, identify and tap on potential synergies to ultimately benefit students, higher education institutions, and professionals in the region," said ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Alicia Dela Rosa Bala.

"The purpose of this policy dialogue is to position SHARE well within the existing landscape as regards existing quality assurance, qualification frameworks and credit transfer system initiatives and to facilitate exchange of information from Southeast Asia and Europe," said Stefan Hell, SHARE Team Leader. He added that by bringing the senior national ASEAN policymakers in higher education, leading representatives of regional organizations, relevant donor agencies, and distinguished academics from universities across the ASEAN region, the first policy dialogue will become the place to gather aspirations from all the parties who will be involved so that they can explore synergies that will enhance connectivity and comparability in ASEAN Higher Education.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sisamone Sithirajvongsa, representing ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Education (SOM-ED) Chair, Lao PDR, said that "based on the theme and purpose of the meeting I am confident that, the constructive views and comments of delegates and participants will contribute a great deal to enhancing our synergy for future cooperation and mutual assistance in human resources development, especially in higher education among ASEAN member states and between ASEAN and European Union."

Madame Ligia Deca, an education researcher with first-hand experience in higher education connectivity among universities with European states, was one of the two keynote speakers. "Closer connectivity is not about simply transferring process and structure to the ASEAN region; the adaption and adoption of appropriate best practices within the ASEAN context will be part of the key towards enhanced co-operation," said Deca, who is also the State Advisor for Higher Education and Research in the Romanian Presidential Administration.

In supporting the debate, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the European University Association (EUA) have conducted three studies on quality assurance, qualification frameworks and degree structures in the ASEAN region, drafts of which will inform the presentation of these in-depth reviews as part of the two-day event.

The other focus of the policy dialogue is university degree acknowledgement in all of ASEAN Member States and enhancing the capacity of CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) universities. SHARE will take this opportunity to also identify action and support for CLMV in the framework of SHARE.

Universities and student representatives are to play a key role in the discussion of ASEAN perspective and expectation and the debate will give the opportunity for donors and International organisations to contribute considerably in mapping existing regional initiatives and projects on harmonising ASEAN higher education.

SHARE is a 10M Euro EU Grant funded project with a principal objective of strengthening regional cooperation, enhancing the quality, competitiveness and internationalisation of ASEAN higher education institutions and students, and contributing to an ASEAN Community. The project aims to enhance cooperation between the EU and ASEAN and to create lasting benefits from the harmonisation of higher education across ASEAN.

ASEAN will be working with a consortium led by British Council, comprising the DAAD, EP-Nuffic, Campus France, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the EUA between 2015 and 2018 to implement SHARE.

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