The 6th Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC6) took place at Singapore Management University on 9-13 October 2017. The event brought together around 110 university leaders, higher education experts, student leaders, and representatives from the business sector and governments, from 51 Asian and European countries. ARC6 issued a set of policy recommendations on the future of higher education to be conveyed to the next Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of Education Ministers.
Under the topic, “Future-ready Universities and Graduates: Quality Education Beyond the Horizon" ARC6 addressed themes such as interdisciplinary education, lifelong learning, and access and inclusiveness. The plenary sessions at the Rectors’ Conference also explored the question of quality education, as well as how universities can engage in a dialogue with governments, the business sector, and society in general.
EUA was represented at ARC6 by Vice-President Professor Martine Rahier and Board member Michael Murphy. In her welcoming words to conference participants, Martine Rahier emphasised the importance of region-to-region policy dialogue and partnerships in a mutual learning perspective and recalled EUA’s longstanding commitment in this regard.
EUA, together with the ASEAN University Network (AUN), proposed policy recommendations for the Rectors’ Conference, structured around four key points: (1) forward-looking institutional missions; (2) connecting learning and teaching, research, and service to society to address local and global challenges; (3) lifelong learning; and (4) towards a quality education for all. The recommendations reflect current challenges faced by universities, and call upon ASEM Ministers of Education to address these in dialogue and cooperation with the universities.
The policy recommendations were given to the Ministers present at ARC6 during the closing ceremony, and it is expected that responses will be received at the upcoming ASEM Education Ministers’ Meetings (21-22 November, Seoul, South Korea), where EUA will represent the European university sector.
EUA President Rolf Tarrach also shared his views on the topic interview with ARC6.
Meetings of ministers of education have taken place since 2008 on a bi-annual schedule, as part of the ASEM Education Process launched at that time. The Secretariat of the meetings has just been handed over from Indonesia to Belgium.