19 January 2023

The Second Agenda from the 13th AUN Rectors’ Meeting: Interdisciplinary and the Future of ASEAN Higher Education

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

In our long-standing series of articles covering the 13th AUN Rectors’ Meeting, we are now moving to the second agenda, “Interdisciplinary and the Future of ASEAN Higher Education”. Here is a quick recap, the meeting was conducted on 27 September last year in 2022. It was a platform where participants could discuss and share AUN-related projects, programs, and activities related to the theme of “University Excellence and the Next Frontiers of ASEAN Higher Education: How AUN Member Universities Think, Lead, and Manage”. If you would like to read our previous coverages of the meeting and the first agenda, please click here.

The second agenda looks at how interdisciplinarity and data strategies could play the key roles in driving forward the achievements of high impact university mission and creating a better future of higher ASEAN education. For this agenda, three professors from some of the most prestigious ASEAN universities came to share their experiences and practices from their own institutions.

Prof. Lily Kong, President of Singapore Management University
SMU is equipped with adaptations to face the VUCA world: 

  • Core curriculums (holistic education and distinct, analytical and multidisciplinary education);
  • Specially integrated interdisciplinary programs (courses to prepare students for the working world while fostering humanistic values); and
  • Individualized programs (programs that answer to individual students interest that fosters their global citizenship identity).

Interdisciplinary education that fosters a global citizen’s identity is critical in navigating the current era and developing a skilled leader of the world.

Prof. Lily Kong-min.JPG

Professor Dato’ Ir. Dr. Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor, Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaya
UM has established modes for providing interdisciplinary education through academic programs, researches, industry engagements, and new rationalization entities. Pathways and special projects are used to measure the impact of each program. The practical aspect of interdisciplinary approaches, alongside strong curricular support, ensures the success of this program.

Prof Dr Shukor-min.JPG

Prof. Bundhit Eua-arporn, Ph.D., President of Chulalongkorn University
The widespread network of CU provides industry based education that fully prepares students to integrate themselves into the workforce through fostering practical and hard skills. 

Prof Bundhit-min.JPG

The work environment nowadays requires graduates with varying skill sets, whether it be communication skills, management skills, or any other skills suitable for the job. Therefore, specializing in only one particular skill is an outdated education method that demands a rethinking of how general education is organized for students, especially lifelong learning to enable graduates to continue developing skills throughout their whole career. 

On top of that, during the pandemic, restrictions and lifestyle changes of people around the world forced the hands of ASEAN Higher Education to adapt with the rapidly changing landscape. Another factor is the rising focus on interdisciplinary research and teaching, further limiting one’s opportunity should they choose to study only a single academic field. Recognizing and developing ASEAN Higher Education with these factors in mind will be necessary in facilitating the learning of students to develop necessary skill sets in the current working world.

In the coming weeks, the AUN Secretariat Writer team will provide an in-depth coverage of each speaker for the second agenda. So stay tuned and check back weekly on this website if you would like to read more!