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High expectations about quality assurance in Southeast Asia

In July, quality assurance agencies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened in Kuala Lumpur to discuss quality assurance systems in general and benefits of collaboration in particular. The round-table with representatives from Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam eventually adopted the “Kuala Lumpur Declaration” which aims to establish an Asean Quality Assurance Network (AQAN). The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), one of the driving forces behind the meeting was appointed to host the temporary secretariat for AQAN. The objectives of AQAN are to “share best practices of quality assurance, develop an ASEAN quality assurance framework, collaborate on capacity building, and facilitate the recognition of qualifications and cross-border mobility”. The ASEAN countries have thus taken the first steps on the road from stated intentions to practical implications. While there are many question marks about the fine line between quality assurance, recognition, mobility and other related issues, the mere creation of AQAN is a sign of how Europe’s aim to harmonise its structures and to implement quality assurance at the supranational level can inspire others to do the same. In fact, EQAR, the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education, has just announced that applications are open until 3 October. Please refer to the ACA Newsletter – Education Europe March 2008 edition for background information. Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of AQAN