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AHEC 2023 Produced Three Declarations to Strengthen Role of ASEAN Universities

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[Unpad Media Channel] The ASEAN Higher Education Conference (AHEC) 2023 results in various policy recommendations for strengthening the university’s role in ASEAN growth.

Three recommendations were the results from three AHEC 2023 events, those being a recommendation for a communique from the AHEC Communique Webinar Series and Ambassador Town Hall Meeting that was organized on June 7th – August 16th, 2023, a recommendation from the ASEAN Alumni Meeting event in August, 23rd 2023 and a recommendation from the ASEAN Youth Forum (AYF) in August, 23rd 2023.

These three recommendations were declared in the international conference of AHEC 2023 in the Merdeka Building, Bandung, Thursday (24/8/2023), titled “Bandung Declaration on ASEAN Higher Education”.

The ASEAN Youth Forum declarations were delivered by several representatives of AYF 2023 participants who were university students from 10 ASEAN member countries. The representatives declared 10 points of commitment to support inclusivity and educational access, organize competent human resources, innovation and technology, sustainable growth, collaboration and mobility, and active participation of the youth.

The 10 points were: To recognize the importance of digital infrastructure development and connectivity to all ASEAN regions; To support inclusive and equal access to standard education for all ASEAN youth; to collaborate and coordinate with all stakeholders and governments in arranging policies and infrastructure related to technology transfer.

Also, to support the digital ecosystem by creating technology literacy in digitization; to raise awareness on cyber security related to the use of digital technology and innovation; to support and commit to the implementation of SDGs by strengthening the initiative and analytical thinking of the youth; to initiate collaborative projects for the ASEAN community to provoke participation of young generations; to encourage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs or UKM) to increase skills of survival and development in facing industrial revolutions.

The last two points encourage the participation of youth to support a sustainable economy with a cycle of willingness and resilience, by steps of economic prevention, against disasters that have never occurred; they also support the strengthening of the Pentahelix approach to support and motivate youth to take leadership positions in every sector to influence sustainable policy and decision-making.

The Declaration of the ASEAN Alumni Meeting was delivered by the Chairperson of Alumni Ties Unpad, Irawati Hermawan, along with several administrators of the Alumni Association in West Java universities.

Six points were delivered, which were: ASEAN universities need to be developed to be Excellence Centers, cross-disciplinary research and collaboration among ASEAN universities should be encouraged, alumni should encourage every university leader to change the educational system by promoting thorough observations of the existing curriculum and ensure they are aligned with the current development era.

Collaboration and synergy among every alumni by forming strong and active alumni networks who participates in university life through joint programs should increase; alumni should support, and are ready to adjust and collaborate in, the involvement in initiatives from ASEAN universities.

Ira conveyed the fifth point: alumni are ready to be strategic partners to higher education institutions in preparing the applications of innovation based on real life knowledge; lastly, the university needs to form the frame of collaboration to ensure quality assurance, mobility, and community development.

The last declaration was a communique from the AHEC Communique Webinar Series and the results of the Ambassador Town Hall Meeting. The declaration was delivered by the Rector of Unpad, Prof. Rina Indiastuti, and several university rectors from ASEAN nations.

The rector said every member agreed to accelerate digital innovation in ASEAN institutions. There are ten recommendations for processes which may be carried out for said acceleration.

The ten processes are: emphasizing the importance of digital innovation within the academic process; increasing quality assurance by research and innovation based on digital innovation; encouraging the mobility of academics and university students supported by research and digital innovation; improving the interoperability, platform, communication, and collaboration among institutions so that the students are able to participate in many virtual programs.

Furthermore, developing a digital platform in teaching and research to produce students who can compete in the industry; providing the latest and digital equipment for research by sharing data; sharing experiences and resources, especially in the digital world, using available technology to enhance the efficiency and effectivity of the involvement in collaborations; creating a conducive environment for innovation, encouraging the development of innovation ecosystems, and increasing research skill and development.

The last two points are supporting access to sharing mobility resources of university students by providing needed information, organizing academic mobility events together, holding collaborative events, ensuring implementation quality; lastly, applying technology to enhance quality assurance through the digital ecosystem.

The three declarations were delivered to Prof. Nizam (Director General of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology), Prof. Arif Satria (Vice Chairperson of The Assembly of Rectors of Indonesian State Universities), and Derry Aman (Ambassador of Indonesia to ASEAN).* ahec (SA)