Education is rightfully regarded as the key sector to support ASEAN's continued growth in the medium and long term. Many ASEAN Governments are spending a higher proportion of public spending on education, for example with Vietnam allocating 6.3% of GDP and Malaysia at 6.1% of GDP respectively (CHED, 2017). However, it is not clear that this investment is leading to a consistent return and there is considerable variation across the region in terms of student outcomes.
The Going Global 2018 conference which was held for the first time in an ASEAN country (Malaysia) provided both an opportunity to the UK sector to access ASEAN education markets in one of the fastest developing regions of the world but also to understand the dynamic of how ASEAN countries operate in relation to each other. International higher education is of clear national and regional importance within ASEAN. ‘The Shape of Global Higher Education’ - the British Council’s unique policy framework which assesses higher education (HE) policies in various countries - was launched at Going Global 2018 and acknowledges that in ASEAN, national strategies for expanding and supporting international higher education engagement are often firmly embedded within other national plans, and linked to the countries’ economic priorities.
The British Council’s role is to utilize the Going Global platform to bring together key influencers from within ASEAN and beyond, and the UK, with the aim of setting new agendas for internationalisation in higher education towards 2025. A policy paper, developed in consultation with ASEAN policy influencers, at Going Global 2018 identified priority areas for internationalisation which were common to the region. These recommendations serve as a basis for further debate and discussions, leading on to more targeted interventions which are responsive to regional priorities, draw on regional strengths and facilitate knowledge exchange between ASEAN and UK higher education sectors.
This Regional Policy Forum is a part of a series of interconnected activities which allows us, through focused discussion and showcasing of UK & ASEAN’s strengths, to support ASEAN’s higher internationalisation agenda towards 2025.