Education underpins ASEAN community building. Education lies at the core of ASEAN’s development process, creating a knowledge-based society and contributing to the enhancement of ASEAN competitiveness. ASEAN also views education as the vehicle to raise ASEAN awareness, inspire the “we feeling”, and create a sense of belonging to the ASEAN Community and understanding of the richness of ASEAN’s history, languages, culture and common values.
At the 11th Summit in December 2005, ASEAN Leaders set new directions for regional education collaboration when they welcomed the decision of the ASEAN Education Ministers to convene the ASEAN Education Ministers’ Meetings (ASED) on a regular basis. The Leaders also called for ASEAN Education Ministers to focus on enhancing regional cooperation in education.
As the collective entity to enhance regional cooperation in education, the ASEAN Education Ministers identified four priorities that ASEAN cooperation on education would address, namely: (i) Promoting ASEAN Awareness among ASEAN citizens, particularly youth; (ii) Strengthening ASEAN identity through education; (iii) Building ASEAN human resources in the field of education; and (iv) Strengthening ASEAN University Networking. To this end, various projects and activities have been/are being developed/organised to fulfil the directives.
In recognition of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization’s (SEAMEO) contribution to human resource development in the region since 1965, the Education Ministers agreed that the existing ASEAN and SEAMEO forums on education should integrate their respective programmes and activities in a complementary manner. The priorities of ASEAN cooperation on education would be undertaken through collaboration with SEAMEO.
ASEAN cooperation on education is overseen at the Ministerial level by an ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting – which meets annually – and the implementation of the programmes and activities for education matters is carried out by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Education (SOM-ED), which reports to the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting. SOM-ED also oversees cooperation on higher education, which is coordinated by the ASEAN University Network (AUN). The AUN was established to serve as an ASEAN mechanism to (i) Promote cooperation among ASEAN scholars, academicians, and scientists in the region; (ii) Develop academic and professional human resource in the region; (iii) Promote information dissemination among the ASEAN academic community; and, (iv) Enhance the awareness of regional identity and the sense of ‘ASEANness’ among members. Visit the AUN website at www.aun-sec.org.