23 February 2016

Working Group Meetings

1st Working Group Meeting

The First Working Group Meeting convened on 30 September 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. The Meeting was attended by delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter, “China”), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea (hereinafter, “ROK”), Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Representatives of the ASEAN University Network (hereinafter, “AUN”), Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization - Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (hereinafter, “SEAMEO-RIHED”) and ASEAN Quality Assurance Network (hereinafter, “AQAN”). Staff members of the ASEAN Secretariat were also in attendance.

The Meeting’s discussion focused on the Future Direction of the Working Group: (1) to develop “ASEAN Plus Three Guidelines on Student Exchanges and Mobility” (hereinafter, “Guidelines on Student Exchanges”) by 2017, and (2) to establish an “ASEAN Plus Three Quality Assurance Expert Meeting” (hereinafter, “APT QA Expert Meeting”), where representatives from quality assurance agencies and, as needed, government officials from ASEAN Plus Three countries met on a regular basis.

1st Working Group (30 September 2013, Tokyo)
1st Working Group Meeting (30 September 2013, Tokyo)


2nd Working Group Meeting

The Expert meeting on preparing for the Second Working Group was held on 25 June 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Meeting was attended by delegates from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Japan and ROK. Representatives of SEAMEO-RIHED and the ASEAN Secretariat were also in attendance.

Best practices from each country were shared, and ideas for Guidelines on Student Exchanges were discussed. During the meeting, suggestions for further discussion at the upcoming Working Group were summarized as follows: (1) the Guidelines are not for one specific student exchange program but for all the programs in the ASEAN Plus Three countries; (2) a clear vision, mission and objective of the Guidelines should be determined; (3) a time frame and mechanisms for implementation, which includes the parties that will take responsibility for activities, should be stated; (4) balanced mobility of students should be encouraged.

The Second Working Group Meeting was held on 16 October 2014 in Bali, Indonesia. The Meeting was attended by delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam as well as China, Japan and ROK. Representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat, AUN and SEAMEO-RIHED were also in attendance.

The Meeting provided a forum for discussion and agreement on the elements of the draft Guidelines on Student Exchanges based on the following principles:

・The aim is to resolve the general and common questions regarding Asian student mobility and to strive to provide services to open the way to all kinds of student mobility and promote barrier-free mobility;
・All the standards, credit transfers, quality assurance, financial and other support and monitoring that are described in the Guidelines should not be obligatory rules but respected recommendations.

The Meeting also welcomed the suggestion to designate Japan, who has been leading the Working Group as organizer, and ROK and China as Co-Organizers of the Working Group. Also, the Meeting welcomed to revise the Terms of Reference to define the role of the Co-Organizers.

2nd Working Group (16 October 2014, Bali)
2nd Working Group Meeting (16 October 2014, Bali)


3rd Working Group Meeting

The Third Working Group Meeting was held on 11 June 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was attended by delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam as well as the China, Japan, and ROK. Representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat and SEAMEO-RIHED were also in attendance.

The revised Guidelines on Student Exchanges were approved and submitted to the 6th ASEAN Plus Three SOM-ED in December 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand, and then to the 3rd ASEAN Plus Three Education Ministers Meeting in 2016 in Malaysia, for endorsement. Japan presented a proposal for the next action plan to develop “ASEAN Plus Three Guidelines on Transcripts for Exchange Students including Comparison Table of the Credit Transfer Systems” (hereinafter, ”Guidelines on Transcripts”), the objective of which is to avoid non-recognition of credits earned at host institutions. The Expert Meeting for Guidelines on Transcripts for Exchange Students is scheduled to take place in March 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.

The Philippines would host the Forth Working Group Meeting in 2016, and during the Meeting, it was also noted that Malaysia will be the Chair of the next Meeting and Japan will be the Co-Chair.

3rd Working Group (11 June 2015, Bangkok)
3rd Working Group Meeting (11 June 2015, Bangkok)


4th Working Group Meeting

Delegates from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam as well as Japan attended the Fourth Working Group Meeting on 1 December 2016 in Cebu, the Philippines. Representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, AUN, AQAN and SEAMEO-RIHED were also in attendance.
Participants welcomed a report on the Third ASEAN Plus Three Education Ministers Meeting in May 2016 in Selangor, Malaysia and on the ministers’ formal approval of the Guidelines on Student Exchange.
Based on discussions during the Expert Meeting for Guidelines on Transcripts for Exchange Students on 7 March 2016 in Tokyo, Japan proposed a draft Guidelines on Transcripts. Attendees discussed the draft and agreed they will consult with higher education institutions back home. They also exchanged views and opinions on what and how to monitor the outcome and impact of the Guidelines on Student Exchanges as well as future activities of the working group. They then decided to invite Member States to provide further comment.
Viet Nam will consider hosting the Fifth Working Group Meeting in 2017, it was noted.
4th Working Group(1 Decembe 2016. Cebu)
4th Working Group Meeting (1 Decembe 2016, Cebu)


ASEAN Plus Three Quality Assurance (APT QA) Expert Meetings

The First Working Group Meeting proposed, as one of its directions, to provide opportunities for quality assurance agencies in the ASEAN and Plus Three countries to meet on a regular basis for exchanging views on student mobility and cross-border education. At the AQAN Round Table Meeting, held in October 2013 in Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam, it was agreed to start the APT QA Expert Meetings that would serve as a venue for exchanging views and smoothing the sharing of information among AQAN members and quality assurance agencies from the Plus Three countries. Information exchange is promoted with a view to further discussion on how the agencies can contribute to enhancing student mobility programs with quality assurance in the region.

1st APT QA meeting

The First APT QA Expert Meeting convened on 6 March 2014 in Hanoi, Viet Nam. The Meeting was attended by delegates from the full and associate member organizations of the ASEAN Quality Assurance Network (hereinafter, “AQAN”) and quality assurance agencies from the Plus Three countries. Participants agreed upon a tentative Terms of Reference, which described the relationship of the Meeting to the Working Group. Representatives from the Philippines, Thailand, Korea and Japan offered inputs regarding policy development and ongoing initiatives related to student mobility in higher education in terms of quality assurance. Further, the participants agreed to share information on quality assurance systems related to student mobility in each of the ASEAN Plus Three countries. The National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation (hereinafter, “NIAD-UE*”) of Japan volunteered to draft and circulate an online questionnaire form to gain comments from the participants.
* On April 1, 2016, NIAD-UE and the Center for National University Finance and Management (CUFM) merged to form NIAD-QE.

2nd APT QA Expert Meeting

The Second APT QA Expert Meeting took place on 17 October 2014 in Bali, Indonesia. The meeting was attended by delegates from the full and associate member agencies of AQAN and quality assurance agencies from the Plus Three countries.
NIAD-UE provided a briefing on the interim report of the online survey results on quality assurance issues related to student mobility. The participants shared the following findings:

・The mechanisms of quality assurance in ASEAN Plus Three countries are varied. In regards to promoting quality assurance relevant to student mobility, there are different degrees of interest among quality assurance agencies, maybe because of differences in 1) the volume of student mobility, 2) the type of student mobility and the mode of collaborative programs, and 3) national government policy.
・Continuous discussion is needed to gain views on what elements of quality assurance are important where student mobility is actively seen and what should be noted in the APT QA Expert Meeting.

Representatives from Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Japan made presentations on their perspectives of quality assurance related to the questions on the survey on student mobility. Representatives from other countries also shared situations related to student mobility and quality assurance in their respective countries.

3rd APT QA Expert Meeting

The Third APT QA Expert Meeting convened on 3 September 2015 in Manila, Philippines. The meeting was attended by delegates from the full and associate member agencies of the AQAN and NIAD-UE.
During the meeting, it was concluded that continued discussion is needed on selected issues about the quality of collaborative programs at future APT QA Expert Meetings, particularly focusing on issues proposed from areas where student mobility is active. Representatives from Malaysia and SEAMEO-RIHED outlined student mobility in ASEAN given background information on the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) and the ASEAN QA Framework (AQAF). The NIAD-UE researcher provided a presentation on efforts to develop a checklist for quality assurance of international collaborative programs between Japan and East Asian countries.

Future prospects

Among ASEAN Plus Three countries, the Vision for an “Asian Higher Education Community” is being increasingly shared. To enhance the regional development of such an educational network, it is important to understand the different systems and cultures of the region while, at the same time, sharing the feeling that we are in the same community in Asia. To materialize sustainable cooperation among ASEAN Plus Three countries, based on the guidelines and rules establishing, and we would like to promote further student exchanges and develop more connected networks among universities in the region. Such efforts will facilitate information sharing and joint programs.






(Office for International Planning, Higher Education Policy Planning Division, Higher Education Bureau)