BANGKOK, 16 May 2018 – The ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) Committee commenced a peer-review process participated in by representatives from education, labour and economic sectors during its fourth meeting in Bangkok.
Around 90 officials from the three sectors attended the meeting which marked a substantial progress in the implementation of the AQRF.
A technical workshop organised prior to the meeting offered the AQRF Committee members an opportunity to exchange views on the draft referencing reports that Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand have submitted. This exercise was meant to enhance the AQRF Committee’s experience in the peer-review process in preparation for the formal consideration of the AQRF Referencing Reports that is expected to take place later this year.
Dr. Prachin Jantong, Deputy Prime Minister and President of Thailand National Qualifications Framework Committee expressed in the opening session that the Thai government fully supports the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the referencing process to the AQRF. He believed that the AQRF mechanism would strengthen and mobilise workforce development and lifelong learning in Thailand, as well as ASEAN Member States.
Tran Anh, Deputy-Director General of Viet Nam Department of Higher Education also expressed a similar sentiment. He said “this is an opportunity to create greater awareness on using NQF as a reference point, based on learning outcomes as a standard, to develop curriculum and training programmes, and to ensure the quality of higher education.” “This, therefore, contributes to the objectives of AMS to reference NQFs to the AQRF. Through this process, each country will benefit through experiences sharing from other AMS, as well as the experts,” added Tran Anh.
Elizabeth Campbell Dorning, Australia’s representative at the workshop, remarked that the AQRF was a significant education policy innovation with the potential to transform the quality of the education and training regional landscape. “Australia is pleased to support this important initiative, and to provide its practical expertise to enhance the mobility of ASEAN graduates in the region and beyond,” she stated.
With affirmed commitments from the referencing ASEAN Member States, the AQRF Committee is on target to consider at least two referencing reports this year.
The event was organised by the Office of the Education Council, Ministry of Education of Thailand in coordination with the ASEAN Secretariat with support from the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Support Program (AECSP).
The AQRF Committee, established in February 2017 with the support of the AECSP, is responsible for maintaining a zone of enhanced trust and confidence among the ASEAN Member States in each other’s qualification system through sharing of best practices and experiences and transparent referencing process.
AECSP has been supporting the process of referencing NQF to the AQRF with a focus on education and training governance since 2010, aiming to harmonise regulatory arrangements between AANZFTA Parties which underpins the recognition of qualifications and the quality assurance of education provision. Now on its fourth phase, the AECSP-supported project on referencing NQF to AQRF aims to develop mutually comparable NQFs based on a common reference framework and build the capacity of ASEAN Member States officials to effectively implement the referencing process.