10 February 2023

13th AUN Rectors’ Meeting: How Chulalongkorn University is Evolving with the Future of ASEAN Higher Education Heading Towards Interdisciplinarity

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

The second agenda from the 13th AUN Rectors’ Meeting still has more to give! This time with Prof. Bundhit Eua-arporn, Ph.D., President of Chulalongkorn, giving his valuable insights for the topic of “Interdisciplinarity and the Future of ASEAN Higher Education”. Over the past few years, the landscape of ASEAN HE has been rapidly transforming towards the model of interdisciplinary studies. Chulalongkorn University too, has to innovate along with the changing demands of education and work environments. If you have not caught up with our recent two articles related to the second agenda, feel free to read them here for Singapore Management University and here for Universiti Malaya

ASEAN Higher Education is constantly evolving, curriculums are always being improved, student mobility being streamlined, and connections between ASEAN Universities continuously strengthening. Having a vast network of many education institutions is one of the key components of Chulalongkorn University in being capable of staying updated with the ever-changing state of education and the working world. This network of education institutions opens the doors towards the Global Education Landscape where learning and teaching is no longer restricted to being conducted in only traditional classrooms. 

Global Education Landscape.pngThe Global Education Landscape is full of useful tools and services for education.

Students and teachers alike nowadays have access to incredibly helpful services and powerful tools provided by these institutions that will assist them to be more effective in their career. As a result of utilizing those tools, it has enhanced the capabilities of online learning and also upgraded technical aspects of higher education institutions, such as information management systems and data analyzing. Combined with services such as career development, broad online learning, and study tools, students in the present and in the future are better equipped than ever before towards developing their own skills.

The New Learning Landscape.pngLearning from anywhere and anytime.

Following that, with the increased effectiveness and efficiency, CU will move past the traditional ways of education where disciplines will define the jobs of the student. In the future most jobs will require a wide variety of skills, not having graduates being limited to only a single discipline. This is now where interdisciplinary education comes into play in developing graduates to become well-versed in many skills that are beneficial towards the requirements of their chosen profession. 

Prof. Bundhit also voiced his concerns over the challenges towards transforming the current state of ASEAN HE, especially for traditional universities that guide students towards only one discipline. This is because interdisciplinary education requires flexibility in the curriculum for students to learn many skills. Collaboration is also important as this allows institutions to support each other by providing assistance in filling out the fields that the other may be lacking in order to develop graduates with a full suite of skills.

Changing how education is conducted will also be crucial to developing curriculums that are essential to building one’s interdisciplinary skills. Prof. Bundhit stated that it should be a flexible education with less grading curriculum and more focused on project-based learning and student driven research. This will empower students with the motivation to learn for themselves in an entrepreneurial mindset with the desire for more rather than putting effort in chasing for a grade.

When integrating research and innovation into interdisciplinary education, its capabilities are identified based on three factors:

  1. Having a good foundation
  2. Having a lasting impact in the future
  3. Providing a competitive edge for its country

To round up the presentation, Prof. Bundhit also provided an example in ASEAN, which is the Food and Agricultural Technology research. Below you can find the infographics from CU Research that Prof. Bundhit also shared at the Rectors’ Meeting!

Value Chain.pngThe process of starting from agriculture (Upstream), to packaging (Midstream), and finally reaching the mass as food products (Downstream).

Future Food.pngFuture Food 2.pngTechnological developments that will enhance the future of food products.

Insect Protein.pngRecent research discovered that insects can be a viable source of protein!

Stakeholder Future Food.pngThe vast network that can be involved in production from the start of agriculture all the way to distributing food products.