The South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation – Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED) will direct the The Academic Credit Transfer Framework for Asia (ACTFA) as part of a US$500,000 strategic framework to increase higher education harmonisation and networking between 2013-2017.
“Similar to the European ERASMUS programme, the region envisions a programme of its own to facilitate the mobility of university students within the region”
“Similar to the European ERASMUS programme, the region envisions a programme of its own to facilitate the mobility of university students within the region; taking advantage of its great diversity, which represents both potentials and challenges related to historical differences, cultural backgrounds, ideological gaps, development, languages, etc.,” a SEAMEO RIHED spokesperson said.
ACTFA will enable students in higher education across the GMS– which consists of Cambodia, China, Laos, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand–, ASEAN, Japan and Korea to participate in student exchanges more easily by establishing a standardised credit system based on a comparable workload and number of teaching and self-study hours.
SEAMEO RIHED will pilot the programme for student exchange among universities in Southeast and Northeast Asia for one to two semesters beginning this year, “fine tune it” then make it publicly available, Sauwakon Ratanawijitrasin, Director of SEAMEO RIHED, told The PIE News.
Higher education in South East Asia has grown rapidly “in size, fluidity and complexity” in recent years to meet growing demand, particularly when it comes to education as a for-profit industry, according to SEAMEO-RIHED.
The organisation maintains that increasing mobility – both outbound and within the region – would be bolstered by better coordination between HEIs.
The credit transfer system aims “to develop a common platform that compiles best practices and lessons learned from previous experiences and to develop a framework valid for all universities and other higher education institutions in the region”, a SEAMEO-RIHED spokesperson said.
Increasing mobility – both outbound and within the region – would be bolstered by better coordination between HEIs
ACTFA is part of an objective to strengthen GMS higher education outlined in a larger human resource development strategic framework that aims to “further support a process that builds country and stakeholder capacity in quality assurance, develop common credit transfer systems, and strengthen networking in GMS universities”.
Additional funding for the credit transfer system will be provided through US$70 million in investment from the Asian Development Bank, regional governments and other sources for cooperation and development in higher education between 2015-2021.
This is the latest in a number of initiatives aiming to build cooperation across higher education in the Asia Pacific region. Thailand is one of the first countries to take part in a pilot credit transfer scheme with Australia introduced in 2013 by the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific association.