Internationalization of Higher Education in Southeast Asia

Internationalization of Higher Education in Southeast Asia

Ramesh Chander Sharma, M. Rajesh
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5231-4.ch004
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In 1997, during the second ASEAN (Association of SouthEast Asian Nations) informal summit held in Kuala Lumpur, ASEAN Vision 2020 was adopted laying emphasis on integration of education and human capital development which was echoed in Hanoi Plan of Action (December 1997) and later on in Vientiane Action Programme (2004). During the first meeting of ASEAN Ministers of Education held at Singapore in 2006 the Cha-am Hua Declaration highlighted role of education in achieving enduring solidarity and unity among the nations and people of ASEAN. Recently an ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 was launched in 2016 recommending an innovative ASEAN approach to higher education with the purpose to promote greater people-to-people interaction and mobility within and outside ASEAN. This chapter discusses policies and practices for internationalization of higher education in South East Asia and how it is strengthening regional and global cooperation.
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Educational systems all over the world have some challenges: of quality, of numbers, of access, of equity and of equality etc. ICT plays an important role in meeting these challenges by bridging the knowledge gap, increasing access to educational opportunities, faster delivery of knowledge products, massification of education and enhancing student-centered learning (ADB, 2009). In educational institutions, ICT is integrated into various systems, not only to assist in teaching and learning, but also for administration and management purposes like student enrolment, course schedules, student grading, staff evaluation etc. (UNESCO, 2011). Not only in universities, ICT is used in TVET institutions for creating a skilled, ICT-capable workforce (ADB, 2009). If we examine the adoption and integration of ICT into educational systems, we note some disparity, some take full advantage while some lack those. Possible reasons are lack of support from management, shortage of trained staff, uncoordinated planning and implementation, ambiguity in roles and responsibilities, staff resistance to training and reluctance for re-training and inadequate finances for developing, purchasing and implementing ICT (UNESCO, 2011).

In recent times, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been a wave of disruptive technology with many universities, governments and other institutions developing and offering MOOCs. MOOCs were reported to be next big thing in the technology development of higher education (NMC, 2012) and then the Year 2012 being declared as the Year of the MOOC by the New York Times. As in open and distance education system, MOOCs also reflect the move towards openness in learning. A team of scholars at United Kingdom Open University (UKOU) examines the pedagogical trends affecting higher education sector. The 2016 report examined new science of learning drawing from the research outcomes from neuroscience, cognitive sciences, educational and social sciences to understand the dynamics of how we learn. In this report (Sharples et al., 2016) some of the innovative technologies and pedagogies identified to have transformed education were: Learning through social media (Using social media to offer long-term learning opportunities); Learning through video games (Making learning fun, interactive and stimulating); Formative analytics (Developing analytics that help learners to reflect and improve); Trans-languaging (Enriching learning through the use of multiple languages); and Blockchain for learning (Storing, validating and trading educational reputation). The 2017 edition of the similar report from UKOU, the focus has been on online world where 'learners are faced with fake news, pseudo-science, ‘post truth’ and increasing tensions between some communities' (Ferguson et al., 2017, p.6). Some of the important innovative pedagogies as per this report are: Open textbooks (Adapting openly licensed textbooks); Immersive learning (Intensifying learning by experiencing new situations); Student-led analytics (Using data to help learners set and achieve their own goals); and Big-data inquiry: thinking with data (Understanding the world by working with large sets of data). These developments have a significant bearing upon the ODL world. Before we examine the impact of these developments to our focused institution, let’s have a brief look at distance education in South East Asia.

Brief on Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia (SA) (extending for around 4000 miles roughly from northwest to southeast and comprises of around 13,000,000 square kilometers of land and sea) is a very interesting region as it comprises of many cultures and ecologies. It is situated east of Indian subcontinent and south of China, has two dissimilar portions: a continental projection (indicated as mainland Southeast Asia) and Insular Southeast Asia (consisting of many archipelagos to the south and east of the mainland (Britannica Online Encyclopaedia, 2017). The region falls into tropical and subtropical climatic zones and observes regular monsoon. Geographically the region is marked with mountains, plains and plateaus. The countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore are at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia is both mainland and insular. The ten member countries constitute ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations): Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. Southeast Asia comprises many cultures and ecologies. These represent a rich diversity in economy, geography, polity and education.

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