The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines’ Commission for Higher Education (CHED), and the European Union (EU) joined forces to organise the First ASEAN Student Mobility Forum in Manila to capture and promote the benefits of student mobility in ASEAN.
About 200 students and alumni attended the two-day forum to discuss what impact student mobility has on individuals’ studies, employability and careers, as well as on societies and on the ASEAN region as a whole.
ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General, Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee highlighted the role of young people in ASEAN as saying, “students and youth are key to our ambitious project of building a people-centred ASEAN community. They are tomorrow’s leaders of societies and industries, so we must educate them to have a good understanding and make use of ASEAN and its benefits.”
CHED Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan echoed this sentiment and highlighted that international mobility of students, both inbound and outbound, is an important element in developing graduates in the Philippines, and especially their chances to find meaningful employment.
Franz Jessen, the EU’s Ambassador to the Philippines, highlighted the EU’s role as providing inspiration and a reference point for ASEAN’s project of building a regional higher education space “higher education cooperation and student mobility have been crucial elements for the success of the EU in the past decades. The well-known Erasmus scholarship scheme has enabled millions of students to study abroad in the region and has instilled in them a European identity.”
The forum is hosted in Manila under the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017, and commemorates three major anniversaries: 50 Years of ASEAN, 40 Years of ASEAN-EU Relations, and 30 Years of Erasmus+. It is organised through the EU Support to Higher Education in the ASEAN Region (SHARE), a four-year cooperation programme of ASEAN and EU in support of the emerging ASEAN Higher Education Area.
ASEAN and EU have jointly designed SHARE to support ASEAN’s vision to build an ASEAN Higher Education Area, to strengthen regional cooperation, enhance the quality, competitiveness and internationalisation of ASEAN higher education institutions and students, and thereby to contribute to a people-centred ASEAN Community. On this journey, SHARE provides ASEAN with relevant experience and expertise from the European Higher Education Area; and builds on best practice and existing platforms of the region and the ASEAN Member States.