ASEAN education officials meet in Jakarta, action plan

Dina Indrasafitri , The Jakarta Post

High ranking education officials from Southeast Asian countries met Thursday in Jakarta to discuss a number of issues and future plans, including harmonizing higher education in Southeast Asia, assuring a quality framework and implementing mobile learning programs.

This year marks the fourth meeting of director generals, secretary-generals and commissioners of higher education in Southeast Asian Region. Countries in which these officials work in are members of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Center for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED).

SMEAO itself was established in 1965.

One of the key issues to be discussed at the meeting is promoting student mobility in Southeast Asia. This program will help university students transfer their studying credit from one university in one ASEAN country to another. This program will commence this year in the form of a pilot project between three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

"So even though he is at the UI [the University of Indonesia] and he studies in Thailand for a semester, the UI will have to consider credit points and the grades he obtained in Thailand as part of the learning process in UI from Thailand," the Education Ministry directorate general of higher education Fasli Jalal said.

There are several subjects included in the pilot project: agriculture, tourism, language and culture, food technology and international business.

The media also heard about the urgency of setting up a quality assurance network for the Southeast Asian region.

"We hope in the next five years we will have a team of [quality assurance] assessors...," Supachai Yavaprabhas, director of SEAMEO RIHED, said.