Experts Meeting on Higher Education and Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications in Southeast Asia

Sunday, 22 August 2021 |

Higher education mobility is fundamental to regional prosperity, while equal access to quality higher education is essential for peace and stability. This vision is at the core of Sustainable Development Goal 4, known as the SDG4-Education 2030 Agenda. UNESCO consistently maintain its effort to ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality higher education, as SDG4-Education 2030 clearly states in target 4.3.


In line with that target, SEAMEO has also set its 7 Priority Areas in its Education Agenda, in which Priority Area 6 focuses on promoting harmonization in higher education and research. It aims to promote and deepen knowledge on the higher education system that is respected, recognized, and fosters credit transfer.



UNESCO Bangkok and SEAMEO fully recognize the need to share good practices, issues, and challenges in the academic mobility and harmonization of higher education. Given the Education 2030 goal of 4.c “By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training…,” SEAMEO and UNESCO Bangkok work hand in hand to promote harmonization strategy as well as academic recognition for better mobility of students.

Supporting by John Wiley & Sons Singapore and SEAMEO Regional Training Centre (RETRAC) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, SEAMEO Secretariat and UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Bangkok, Thailand conducted Experts Meeting on the Harmonization of Higher Education and Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications in Southeast Asia. The meeting was held on 2-3 December 2019, at SEAMEO RETRAC, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.




The meeting was successfully convened with the attendance of 25 active and enthusiastic participants, representing 9 SEAMEO Member Countries, John Wiley & Sons Singapore, University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), Vietnam Institute of Education Science, selected SEAMEO Centre Directors, the SEAMEO Secretariat and UNESCO Bangkok.




During the meeting, Dr Wang Libing of UNESCO Bangkok shared ‘A New Era of Mobility in Asia-Pacific’ which is promising yet very challenging. His session was continued with presentations from SEAMEO countries on status of country on recognition of higher education credentials and the harmonization of curriculum in higher education of Southeast Asian member countries. The inputs from our partners such as John Wiley & Sons Singapore, University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), and Vietnam Institute of Education Science enrich participants knowledges prior their discussion on remaining issues and challenges on the higher education harmonization initiatives that will lead to recognition of HE qualifications. At the end of the meeting, we came up with a regional higher education action plan for the next 3 years on 1) harmonization of higher education curricula; 2) roadmap to increase recognition of higher education qualifications and 3) strategies for ratification of the Tokyo Convention by Member countries.