Process of higher education "harmonization" beginning in southeast Asia

July 1, 2014
  • AACRAO Connect
  • International Education

By Ann M. Koenig, AACRAO International Education Services

Taking a page from the European playbook, education leaders in southeast Asia are planning to create a “Southeast Asian Higher Education Area”. Inspired by the Bologna process in Europe and following the model of the European Higher Education Area, the development of a higher education community for the southeast Asia region is being led by the SEAMEO-RIHED (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation - Regional Center for Higher Education Development) in Bangkok, Thailand.

The project, whose goal is to support regional economic development through the strengthening of human resource capacity, is called Harmonization and Networking in Higher Education, Building a Common Credit Transfer System for Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and beyond. The pillars of the project are increased regional student mobility, supported by quality assurance (QA) mechanisms and a common transfer credit system (CTS). According to SEAMEO, the project is currently in its “explore” phase and will begin in 2015.

The members of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Yunnan Province, China. The project also embraces the ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), Japan and South Korea.

Foreign credential evaluators and admissions staff will find the SEAMEO/UNESCO publications on country educational systems useful. AACRAO IES recommends the following publications that are available online in pdf:

Handbook on Diplomas, Degrees and other Certificates in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific, 2nd Edition, 2004

Higher Education in South-East Asia, 2006






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