11 January 2024

“This is the Window of Opportunity”, AUN Executive Director Emphasized the Great Potential of CALOHEA for the Future of ASEAN Higher Education

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

Last month on 13 - 15 December, Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director of the ASEAN University Network (AUN) delivered a speech at the 7th CALOHEA General Meeting that envisioned the future landscape of ASEAN Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in regards to the success of the Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Asia (CALOHEA) project that has laid the solid foundations for HEIs to improve their outcome-based qualifications system and management.

Through his speech, Dr. Choltis expressed his deepest appreciation to all of the organizations and personnels involved to make CALOHEA achievable. Indeed, without TUNING Academy and the support of the 14 host Universities for the National Meetings, this project would have never come to fruition. AUN is forever grateful to have been given the opportunity to be at the forefront of transforming ASEAN HEIs. 

So what is next? It has already been known that the CALOHEA National Meetings has already come to its conclusion after the eight-month long and successful endeavors to promote CALOHEA as a valuable tool for universities across ASEAN to enhance the transparency and comparability of their learning programme’s outcomes and position their programmes in alignment with the global standards for international mobility of students and scholars. The tremendous success and numbers achieved from the National Meetings carries with it the current movement in the Southeast Asian higher education sector in transforming or in reforming the way in which the universities are managing the qualifications that are offered to the learner, to the community and to the public in general. 

However, the story does not end here and as stated by Dr. Choltis, “This is the window of opportunity”. The integration of the tools used in the TUNING Methodology is only the beginning for all of ASEAN HEIs to proceed with making positive changes to internal systems. Whether it is qualifications frameworks, student workload calculations or authentic assessments, they now have tried and true tools and methods of TUNING to elevate the quality of their educational services. 

In the last section of his speech, Dr. Choltis stressed that at this very moment the project consortium, which are the experts and coordinators from Southeast Asian Universities, are observing the rolling out of the tools and good practices that have been provided through the National Meetings. Considering the current geopolitical situation, and the prospect that Southeast Asia still remains as a very peaceful region, there is no better time than now. The practitioners and institutions of ASEAN higher education should be seizing this advantageous moment to propel the quality of ASEAN HEIs into the direction where it can be its own hub in providing the best talents and human resources to the region in the future.

Below you may also find the full transcript of the speech provided by Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director of AUN.

AUN Executive Director’s Speech at the 7th CALOHEA General Meeting

Thank you to TUNING Academy Groningen Center as well as referring back to TUNING Academy at Deusto Center, for giving us this opportunity that Prof. Robert Wagenaar just mentioned that it's a long journey dated back to 2016. If we think about that from 2016 to 2023 is a very long journey, but a wonderful one because no one would argue with me that as of now, everyone here not only understands the things we have been doing, but also you are also helping to roll out what we have been doing in terms of the outcome based qualifications system and management by using TUNING. Not only methodology, but also good practices and tools.

Many tools indeed that I really appreciate the opportunity given to us. Brought to us by TUNING Academy led by Prof. Wagenaar, and also managed and led by Pablo (Beneitone) and Maria (Yarosh). I would also like to thank our European experts for being with us from the start from 2016 until now. We have so many experts from many universities and the European Union. I would also like to give appreciation to the EU for funding this project as it was a long journey. And as Prof. Wagener mentioned earlier, we are all trying to make a better higher education sector, particularly in Southeast Asia.

I would also like to express my gratitude particularly to the 14 host universities that this year organized the CALOHEA National Meetings. I know that it is not an easy job to organize the meeting with those kinds of targets in mind. But we not only could pull it through but also achieved what you will be shown later, the excellent results. Numbers may say something quantitatively, but I also would like to communicate to our funding agency like the EU that this number also carries with it the current movement in Southeast Asian higher education sector in transforming or in reforming the way in which our universities are managing the qualifications that we offer to the learner, to the community and to the public in general. Again, it's not easy for the host universities to organize those national meetings but you made it wonderfully. In that sense, it is our gratitude to you on behalf of the AUN.

Apart from that, we cannot forget all of you here. The coordinator and experts from our universities in Southeast Asia. Who all of you have given your time. I know it has been very hard, given the current performance indicators regime that you are under, that you must report how you are spending your time. It's not easy for you as well as your team to participate in this CALOHEA Project, but wonderfully you participated and have given your time in doing this. And also my appreciation extends to all your teams and colleagues within your universities, and also to your top administrators or your superiors who allowed you to do this. This is my sincerest appreciation that I’d like to register officially in this meeting. And finally, I'd like to thank my own team from the AUN Secretariat who have been working very hard to get this done and Maria knows it firsthand.

And finally, I would like to say something a bit more on the current situation. When we look around us in the current geopolitical situation, we have trouble nearly all over the world, not only to mention the war, but also the tension between the big superpowers, looking at it inside out and then looking outside into our region. Southeast Asia is still a very peaceful area. We keep it that way and this is the window of opportunity for us to make the most of our advantage that we are in a very peaceful region. And we got friends, experts from Europe, like Tuning Academy in Groningen, to make the most of it. And I believe that from my first hand observation in some of our national meetings of CALOHEA, I believe that right now we are observing the rolling out. Sometimes, I even get carried away to call it qualifications reform or qualifications transformation.

But at least from the facts that I have observed, we are in the process of rolling out our tools and good practices that all of you have been putting your effort into. So this is the opportunity that also matches up with what ASEAN is aiming right now to be, a more integrated area of economic growth in itself by also cutting ties of dependency with other suppliers around the world. The mood in ASEAN is that it's time for us to look at our own supply chains. There are many things that companies don't know that already exist in our neighboring country. But to go in that direction, our higher education must be of high quality as well. We are the hub that provides talents and human resources to our region.

Thank you very much.

- Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, AUN Executive Director

For further reading in regards to CALOHEA, you may find recent highlights from AUN below: