ASEAN Higher Education in a Globalized Era

Article excerpt

Byline: Eduardo P. Garrovillas Jose Rizal University

ASEAN economies, whether developed or developing, rich or poor, cannot escape globalization. Neither can we turn back the tide of globalization. Key education stakeholders must therefore address the challenges and imperatives of ASEAN higher education in the era of globalization, asserting among others, that educational and intellectual pursuits can no longer remain within the boundaries of one particular nation or culture; that such pursuits must be subjected to a broader, wider context and would therefore require an ASEAN imprimatur. Contextual factors and issues within the ambit of globalization vis-A -vis international cooperation and world peace must be discussed; changes in higher education, identified, followed by action-planning and program implementation, carefully avoiding over analysis that usually leads to paralysis. Key policy issues that must be addressed on the ASEAN level concerning higher education are, as follows: 1) evaluating the opportunities or potential unintended consequences of a regional accreditation of degree programs or curricula; 2) assessing the advantages or disadvantages of a regionbased professional regulatory body; and 3) maximizing the synergy of talents thru instruction and research collaboration in the ASEAN to meet the challenges of the knowledge economy, the phenomenon of international migration, and interdependencies of nations.

Globalization is the primus inter pares issue of the 21st century. All countries of the globe are affected by it. The challenges of globalization tell us of the following imperatives a" 1) the evolving reality of educational pursuit now taking place in a borderless and wall-less classroom; 2) that preparing students for work in a global economy must be a top priority in the educational agenda of the ASEAN; specifically, besides competency and skills, exposure to multicultural curricula and bilingual education (important in preparing students for international exchange), such as gaining fluency in speaking and writing in English, which has evolved as the global business language, as well as other major languages like German, French, Spanish, or Chinese; and 3) putting college and university education in a broader, more global context is a compelling necessity; an education that reaches beyond the confines of individual nations, with emphasis on international cooperation and world peace as much as it would about math, science, history, and other traditional courses in the liberal arts curricula (Evans, 1997).

Political. That education is an integral part of development is a politically correct assessment. Even UNESCOas "four pillars of education" (i.e., learning to be, learning to know, learning to do, and learning to live together) is developmentbased; it is the beacon light on education of the 195 member-countries of the UN. According to the ASEANas basic philosophy, "Development is by definition a process by which a societal problem is to be solved by implementing a systematic and well-defined process. An approach of addressing issues and solving problems through development activities is often referred to as carrying out "development intervention." Outcomes of a development intervention are typically measured by the impact that it produces in providing solutions to the problem being addressed."

As an open system that is permeable, the school is an active part of the larger community doing the conservative, normative, and progressive functions for society, whose nature, existence and raison daetre, are duly defined by the state. From the Napoleonic era, which first saw the regimentation of the school as a political tool of the state to ensure the effective transfer and preservation of the nationas culture from one generation to the next, the school, up to modern times, has been the traditional partner of government in the delivery of formal education to its citizenry. …