16 December 2021

“Ensuring Quality during Challenging Times” – A SHARE-NUS Seminar

AUN Writer Team

By Janesza Kaye Santos, AUN Intern

ASEAN University Network, Executive Director, Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, shared an insightful discussion concerning the Post-Pandemic Challenges in Providing Quality Assurance in Higher Education in ASEAN and Europe at the SHARE-NUS last November 22, 2021, via Zoom Meeting Conference. SHARE or the European Union Support to Higher Education in the ASEAN Region conducted the SHARE-NUS, a regional seminar cooperating with the National University of Singapore. It aims to address the challenges of the delivery of Quality Assurance during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr. Choltis highlighted the challenges and effects of the current global pandemic on higher education in the ASEAN region. Although the pandemic has forced the higher education institutions to transition to the new normal ways of teaching and learning and made it harder to ensure quality education, it also positively affected higher education institutions, particularly in realizing technology-enhanced learning and teaching. The higher education institutions must ensure the effective and efficient delivery of education despite adapting to the new normal learning modes. By this, institutions must be flexible, have the means to the availability of tools and platforms for online learning and activities, and allow access to vast and various data. 

AUN being focused on quality assurance, Dr. Choltis also laid the different actions and responses of AUN to mitigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic towards the quality of higher education. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AUN-QA has utilized the Online Program Assessment to ensure that the ASEAN Region’s Quality Assurance of Higher Education is adopted smoothly without leaving anyone behind.  AUN-QA also launched the AUNQA System and standard version 4.0 and the AUN for Technology-enhanced Personalized Learning (AUN-TEPL) that allows the assessment and interview of the stakeholders to be done online to be still able to maintain the standard evaluation. Furthermore, AUN also set up a training program that caters to online learning in various universities within ASEAN. This program is under three batches, concentrating on the preparations of the teachers, lecturers, and staff members for online learning, helping participants in recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of different online learning methods, and allowing participants to get first-hand experience on various platforms and tools that could help them for online lectures and activities. 

As the challenges in the efficient and effective ways of learning become apparent, the AUN recognizes that it is essential to have alternative forms of extracurricular activities, training, and internship further to hone the abilities of each student and their institutions. Hence, AUN became a platform for various engaging activities.  With this, the AUN and its member universities could conduct an ASEAN-Cyber University project collaborating with the Korean government, a Project CALOHEA: “Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Asia.”, and the ASEAN-Korea Youth Summits, to name a few. 

Towards the end of his discussion, Dr. Choltis emphasized that the challenges in education, especially in this pandemic, should be a learning curve not just for higher education institutions but for everyone to be well-aware of possible changes and digital adaptation transformation concerning education. The advancement of technologies should also allow students to prosper and excel without being left behind. Dr. Choltis ended his discussion by stressing that “It’s important to adapt, take the right path and create more productive and effective higher education for the future generation.”