Three PEER researchers presented the PEER project’s results at the SEAMEO RIHED Symposium ‘Sustainable Learning in Higher Education: Towards Sustainable Development’ held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 23-25 November 2022. The Symposium brought together over 100 researchers, university leaders, ministerial officials and regional organisations from Asia and Europe, including the UK. This was an excellent opportunity for the PEER team to disseminate their research findings to the right audience in order to create an impact.
SEAMEO RIHED Inter-Regional Research Symposium was relaunched after Covid as a biannual series of research conferences with a renewed emphasis on the contributions of higher education towards sustainable development. SEAMEO RIHED is the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation’s (SEAMEO) Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development.
Resilient partnerships for sustainable development: research collaborations between ASEAN, UK and China
Presented by Que Anh Dang and Mehmet Karakus
Que Anh Dang and Mehmet Karakus analysed the perspectives of funders, higher education institutions and researchers, and compared the scope and trajectories of UK-ASEAN and China-ASEAN research partnerships related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the past decade. They argue that while only a relatively small number of universities in ASEAN, China and the UK participated in the THE Global Impact Ranking, the bilateral research partnerships of UK-ASEAN and China-ASEAN have been strengthened as evidenced by the increasing number of SDGs-related co-authored publications in the past seven years. However, there are important differences. The top discipline of UK-ASEAN co-authored papers is medicine and the third discipline is social sciences whereas the top discipline of China-ASEAN co-authored papers is environmental science and the third discipline is energy. The top funder of ASEAN-UK publications is the Wellcome Trust whereas the top funder of ASEAN-China publications is the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (US) is the second funder for the publications of both UK-ASEAN and China-ASEAN groupings. In the follow-up discussion with the audience, Que Anh and Mehmet highlighted the question of whether universities in ASEAN should strike the balance between investing their scared resources in sustaining and enhancing quality teaching, learning and research activities and the costly participation in the global impact ranking.
Internationalising TVET partnerships in Southeast Asia: Equity, Sustainability and Diplomacy
Presented by Jaya Priah Kasinathan and Que Anh Dang
Jaya Priah Kasinathan and Que Anh Dang traced the key drivers and practices of internationalising Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in ASEAN. Their findings show that TVET internationalisation has been neglected and under-invested in the past, but recently there has been increasing attention to TVET partnerships within the ASEAN region and beyond. However, the effort so far has been on the political level and mostly in a top-down approach. They also identified some emerging opportunities for UK-ASEAN partnerships. For example, despite the importance of bilateral TVET partnerships between two countries, multi-lateral or regional partnerships are gaining importance in the ASEAN region to respond to a greater need for regional dialogues and knowledge sharing for post-Covid recovery, particularly the development of National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS) and initial training and more continuous professional development of TVET teachers. They conclude that for sustainable international partnerships, there needs to be more investment in longer-term partnerships between TVET institutions that would yield greater impact than short-term consultancy.