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A ‘Bologna Process’ for ASEAN countries?

The vision of harmonising the higher education systems of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries has been advancing in the recent months, with the creation of a new road map listing several relevant steps to be taken in the future, with a view to “enhancing people to people connectivity and supporting ASEAN community building“. 

Designed across six key areas, the vision is foreseen to lead towards the development of an ASEAN Higher Education Space (Key Area 1), with relevant actions foreseen for the other areas:

  • Key Area 2: Strengthen the awareness and implementation of regional Quality Assurance;
  • Key Area 3: Support and enhance implementation of the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework;
  • Key Area 4: Promote and strengthen regional cooperation for Higher Education Mobility;
  • Key Area 5: Promote and implement mutual recognition on ASEAN Higher Education Qualifications, and professions, if possible; and
  • Key Area 6: Design and set the foundation that ensures sustainability (technical/human and financial resources) of the ASEAN Higher Education Space.

Each area will be addressed through a mix of capacity building, technical assistance and policy dialogues activities.

The roadmap is complemented with a two-year implementation plan, developed to give ASEAN officials and national authorities responsibility for building key features of the scheme, such as an ASEAN-branded scholarship programme (similar to the Erasmus+ scheme) and an ASEAN version of Europe’s diploma supplement – along with mechanisms to ensure the scheme’s financial sustainability.

Thus far, the disparate nature of South-east Asia’s higher education systems was considered to be a challenge for the development of an ASEAN "Bologna process". Through targeted initiatives, such as the SHARE (Support to Higher Education in the ASEAN Region) programme, the EU and ASEAN have tried to strengthen regional co-operation and enhance the quality, regional competitiveness and internationalisation of ASEAN higher education institutions and students.

Read more here.