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ASEAN Ramps Up Regional Cooperation in Higher Education with Support of the EU SHARE Programme


BANGKOK, 24 February 2016 –

Today, ASEAN and the European Union (EU) Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region (SHARE) Programme commenced their second in a series of SHARE policy dialogues. In cooperation with the ASEAN University Network (AUN) and hosted by Chulalongkorn University, this two-day event brings together more than 150 high-level education officials, academics and students from ASEAN Member States and the EU.

The policy dialogue focuses on students’ learning outcomes in the context of the various degree structures across ASEAN universities and is an important stepping-stone on ASEAN’s path towards a more connected regional higher education system. “Building a regional higher education system with an effective and sustainable scholarship scheme at its core will not only benefit students and universities, but will form a cornerstone of a truly people-centred ASEAN community and contribute significantly to the competitiveness of ASEAN Member States as well as ASEAN as a whole”, said ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee.

SHARE is a 10 million Euro EU grant funded programme 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. From 2016 onwards, it will be providing some 500 scholarships for ASEAN university students to put the improved systems to the test, mainly by supported student exchange and credit recognition within the ASEAN region. The European Higher Education Area and the well-known Erasmus scholarships will serve as the main reference point in this process. The EU experience will strengthen the creation of higher education space in ASEAN and will leverage existing higher education platforms in the region.

“The 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,” said EU Ambassador to Thailand Jesús Miguel Sanz, and added: “The EU is very pleased to bring its wealth of expertise from the European Higher Education Area to support ASEAN through the SHARE programme in building its own scholarship scheme and regional systems.”

Building a regional higher education system requires policy dialogues such as the one organised today, in order to involve policy makers, universities, faculty and students. “Internationalisation is a key strategy for a modern university”, said Asst. Prof. M.R Kalaya Tingsabadh, Ph.D, Vice President of Chulalongkorn University, “and we should focus increasingly on connecting with universities in the ASEAN region. Regional frameworks will greatly facilitate such regional connectivity, as we have seen in the European example.”

In supporting the debate, SHARE is today publishing four in-depth studies on the state of play in ASEAN of framework agreements that allow different university qualifications to be compared, on means to assess and improve the quality of teaching and of institutions, on the different types of degrees and courses that exists, and on what options today’s students have to study abroad in ASEAN and have the credits they obtain recognized by their home university.

ASEAN is working with a consortium led by British Council and comprising the DAAD, EP-Nuffic, Campus France, ENQA and EUA between 2015 and 2018 to implement SHARE.

The ASEAN University Network of 30 universities across the region promotes regional cooperation in higher education since 1995 and is a key partner of SHARE.

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