The Non-Aligned Movement accords a key role to education as an integral component of sustainable development. The Movement has called upon its Member States to strengthen cooperation, enhance capacity-building, strengthen human resources and leverage the catalytic role of education. Member States of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which are also members of the Non-Aligned Movement have accorded a key priority to promoting education.

An important initiative by the ASEAN in this regard is the launch of the ‘Roadmap on the ASEAN Higher Education Space 2025 and its Implementation Plan’ on July 27, 2022. It was launched officially by the ASEAN Secretariat, the European Union (EU) Support to Higher Education in the ASEAN Region (SHARE) Programme, and the members of the ASEAN Working Group on Higher Education Mobility (AWGHEM). The launch was officiated by Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Nguyen Van Phuc, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, Viet Nam; and Giorgio Aliberti, the EU Ambassador to Viet Nam.

According to an official statement by the ASEAN, the Roadmap on the ASEAN Higher Education Space 2025 contributes to the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the strengthening of future resilience through enhanced people-to-people connectivity, and improved access and recognition of higher education in the ASEAN region. It envisages a resilient and sustainable ASEAN Higher Education Space that enables greater harmonisation and internationalisation of the region’s higher education systems. It is reflective of the new reality for education worldwide, and proposes adaptive and sustainable approaches in responding to the changing context of higher education. This includes augmenting access and inclusion to internationalised higher education provision by students through digital transformation.

In developing a roadmap aimed at fully implementing initiatives towards an ASEAN Higher Education Space and the management of an ASEAN Branded Scholarship by 2025, the Roadmap will have the following objectives: 1. Consolidate the vision and commitments set out in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Higher Education; 2. Formulate and propose an ASEAN Declaration and Vision on the ASEAN Higher Education Space as a high-level commitment to the objectives of the Working Group; 3. Determine key milestones in the design, development and implementation of the Working Group’s activities; 4.

Contribute to the underlying visions of ASEAN 2025 and a post-2025 agenda as well as the sustainability and resilience of an ASEAN Higher Education Space; 5. Provide strategic guidance to the Senior Officials Meeting on Education (SOM-ED) on the implementation of the relevant activities ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2021 – 2025 in accordance with their respective mandates; 6. Identify, agree, and implement the procedure, timeline, and capacity building required to transfer of ownership of assets and action lines from the SHARE Programme to the ASEAN nominated entity/entities, prior to the SHARE Programme’s conclusion at the end of 2022, to sustainably lead the initiative to 2025 and beyond; 7. Identify, develop and implement continued Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Activities required for the Working Group and the ASEAN Member States 8. Establish programme areas for the following components, within the implementation plan: The Digital Transformation of ASEAN Higher Education • Virtual Exchange / Collaborative Online International Education (COIL) • Digital Credentials / Digitalised Credit Transfer System, Communities of Practice of ASEAN Higher Education Practitioners / Alumni, Support for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam on student mobility and Graduate Employability in ASEAN.
At the launch, Secretary-General Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi, stated that, “the ASEAN Secretariat recognises the crucial importance of synergy and working together to ensure efficient use of resources and maximise impact of our initiatives in the region. The Roadmap on the ASEAN Higher Education Space and its Implementation Plan is also our attempt to synergise our work, consolidate our efforts, and appreciate the valuable work that has been done by the ASEAN Member States and regional partners on implementing a common higher education

[space] in Southeast Asia.” Deputy Minister Dr Nguyen Van Phuc, stated in his welcome remarks, “Today, I am very glad to witness the launching of the Roadmap on the ASEAN Higher Education Space 2025 and its two-year Implementation Plan. I trust that The Roadmap on the ASEAN Higher Education Space will help enable greater harmonisation and internationalisation of the ASEAN higher education, especially in enhancing people to people connectivity and supporting ASEAN community building.” The roadmap envisions a resilient and sustainable ASEAN Higher Education Space that enables greater harmonisation and internationalisation of ASEAN higher education, especially in enhancing people to people connectivity and supporting ASEAN community building.

Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASEAN#/media/File:Seal_of_ASEAN.svg