Education sector is a priority of the respective governments of ASEAN countries in order to develop human resources in Southeast Asia. It was made concerning the planned establishment of the ASEAN Community by 2015.
"Education is very important, because the desired ASEAN Community is based on three pillars, namely ASEAN Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community," said Dr. Donald Tambunan, Director of the ASEAN Socio Cultural Cooperation, ASEAN Secretariat, on the opening of the 26th ASEAN University Network (AUN) meeting, UGM Senate Hall, on Thursday (29/7). On the occasion, Tambunan was accompanied by the Rector of UGM, Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, M. Eng., Ph.D, Chairman of the AUN Board of Trustees, Dr. Sumate Yammon, and AUN Executive Director, Prof. Dr. Nantana Gajaseni.
Tambunan explained that the program implemented by the AUN is aligned with the program implemented by ASEAN. He also hopes that AUN would later become a pioneer that has active role in the empowerment of human resources in ASEAN. In fact, he judged, AUN has a strategic role to improve cooperation relations between ASEAN through inter-university cooperation. "Beside able to synergize the education sector program in ASEAN, AUN can also synergize with other international universities," he said.
Sumate Yammon said AUN plans to improve networking among ASEAN universities. In addition, the institution also plans to expand the number of AUN membership. They are currently considering several proposals from universities that want to become a member. There are possibilities that AUN cooperate with universities in America, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific. Therefore, the member universities must follow the AUN quality assurance standard.
“The rigorous quality assurance is carried out so that universities in ASEAN countries which are members of AUN receive recognition from top universities in the world," he said. According to Sumate Yammon, the quality assurance standard that is applied by AUN so far gives quite significant results. Even some universities are seen as having better quality assurance than the AUN standard, however, Yamoon refused to mention which.
In addition to the quality assurance process, said Yamoon, the AUN Board of Trustees is also in the middle of drafting student exchange program between universities in ASEAN through student’s credit transfer program. For example, students who study at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, have the opportunity to study for a semester or a year at UGM, UI or ITB, in which the course credit that is taken is recognized by each other.
In the meantime, Sudjarwadi said the AUN Board of Trustees meeting agenda that lasted two days, among others, are to evaluate AUN new membership proposals and evaluate the cooperation result of AUN members with several universities in Japan, Korea and China.