The AUN's Response to COVID-19

To the AUN family and partners,

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop, we would like to provide a message to the entire AUN family about the Secretariat’s responses so far and the course of action for the AUN.

The well-being of our Member Universities, their staff, their students, and their families, as well as all of our partner organizations is our top priority. Following the advice and guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the governing authority on public health of each ASEAN Member State, all of our activities and events have been postponed, cancelled, or reorganized to reflect this priority.

Preparing for and managing unforeseen circumstances (January-February 2020)

Even before the situation became an outright pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization, the AUN Secretariat took the emerging health situation very seriously. Weeks before our activities took place in early February, the AUN Secretariat was already preparing precautionary measures and adapting the program flow of our activities to reflect the changing circumstances. Two of our activities had to undergo significant changes to include precautionary measures to ensure the safety of all our participants. These two activities are:

1. ASEAN Student Leaders Forum - February 3-7, 2020 at Chiang Mai University
2. 174th AUN-QA Program Assessment - February 4-6, 2020 at Mahidol University

At these two activities, participants were informed of good hygiene practices during outbreaks prior to their arrival. Upon their arrival, they were provided medical masks and sanitary gels free of charge. Throughout the activities, participants’ body temperatures were constantly monitored by the organizing team. Additionally, the AUN Secretariat recommended all participants to use the laundry services available to disinfect their clothes. These measures were only made possible through the close cooperation and assistance of the organizing universities.

We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Chiang Mai University and Mahidol University for their cooperation and commitment to the safety and wellbeing of all our participants.

Adapting to new circumstances (March 2020 onwards)

As of April 2020, most of the world has employed social distancing and work-from-home strategies to combat further spread of COVID-19. This has proven to be a challenge for work of any kind. In an effort to thrive in these new circumstances, the AUN Secretariat has looked to innovative examples from our most proactive colleagues and from the world at large.

Our thematic networks and the AUN Secretariat are still alive and as productive as ever.

  • On 27 February 2020, Singapore Management University hosted the inaugural ASEAN University Network-Technology-Enhanced Personalized Learning (AUN-TEPL) Symposium (Online). It was attended by a total of over 180 educators from 51 universities.
  • In March, we published our book “Nantopia: Breakthrough Towards the City For All” which details the 2nd AUN ASEAN Experiential Learning Programme that was organized in collaboration with Chulalongkorn University.
  • On 7 April 2020, the AUN-QA Secretariat organized the first virtual AUN-QA Council Meeting which was attended by all council members along with resource persons. A document highlighting key takeaways from the meeting can be found here
    http://www.aunsec.org/AUN-QA-CouncilMeeting.php
  • On 20 April 2020, Mr. Johnson Ong Chee Bin, the Principal Consultant of Education Quality International (EQI), conducted the first session of the “SAR Zoom Clinic: Writing a Good SAR (Self-Assessment Report)” for the first batch of participants which was attended by 39 people. This clinic is a collaborative community service project between the Education Quality International and AUN-QA Network. There will be a session per day up until 24 April 2020. A second batch with 39 participants will be conducted from 27 April to 1 May 2020.
  • On 22 April 2020, a free webinar was provided for the AUN family called “Remote Attendance Learning Model” which focused on providing ASEAN educators with concepts and tools necessary for providing quality online education. The webinar was organized in collaboration with the University of Deusto and conducted by Dr. Alex Rayón Jerez, Vice Rector for International Relations of the University of Deusto. It was attended by over 500 participants.
  • On 27 May 2020, the AUN-QA Secretariat will host the AUN-QA Assessors’ Online Meeting which will include a plenary and breakout discussions on AUN-QA operational issues that arise prior to and during the site visits. Over 70 AUN-QA Assessors are expected to attend this meeting.
The Revised Calendar

The link below will lead you to our revised calendar. We have rescheduled or reformatted our activities to reflect the changing COVID-19 situation. Please note that this calendar will be constantly updated based on the information and recommendations provided by the World Health Organization and Ministries of Public Health (or their equivalent) in ASEAN member states.
https://bit.ly/2RRgpZz

Planning Ahead

We understand that many people in the world today are anxious for the state of the world to return to normal. The AUN Secretariat understands that returning to situation normal will be a gradual process, not an abrupt one. As part of our situational planning, we are carefully and diligently monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We are maintaining close contact with all our member universities, thematic networks, and partners to consult the feasibility of organizing each event as well as scheduling.

These are challenging times for the whole world. As members of the ASEAN higher education sector, none of us are strangers to challenge. The AUN’s 25 years of experience is marked with nothing but challenges. But with our experience, we are prepared to handle the slow, gradual, and cautious return to normality that is vital to controlling the pandemic whenever that may be. Every challenge is an opportunity to rise up and improve. And this one will be no different.