On 26 April 2017, the ASEAN-China Seminar on Foster Educational Quality through International Collaboration: Academic Research and Exchanges between Hainan and ASEAN was successfully held in Haikou, Hainan province. The Seminar was one of the activities of the 4th ACC-SEAMEO RIHED Study Visit Programme to Hainan, co-organized by ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED), aiming at enhancing higher education collaboration in the fields of foreign language and culture, tourism and hospitality, tropical agriculture, tropical medicine, and marine science. More than 80 participants from the Ministries of Education and universities of Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as 19 universities and colleges in Hainan of China were present at the Seminar.
During the Seminar, Mr. Zhang Chao, Director of the Division of International Cooperation and Exchange of Education Department of Hainan Province, and Ms. Phunyanuch Pattanotai, Programme Director of SEAMEO RIHED, delivered their keynote speeches on “Opportunities and Challenges for Hainan-ASEAN higher education collaboration and exchange under the Belt and Road framework” and “Regional efforts on quality assurance, academic mobility and collaboration”. Mr. Zhang Chao said that, Hainan province and ASEAN countries had vast potentials for cooperation and exchanges in higher education, in particular in tropical agriculture, ocean exploration, tourism, tropical disease control, there were more discipline commonness and high developing complementarily. Moreover, both sides are also facing many challenges, for instance, the scope of exchanges were not broad enough and the area cooperation was not diverse. It is suggested that both sides could seize this opportunity to continuously enhance and strengthen cooperation and exchanges through building network with potential universities, promoting people-to-people exchanges, sharing best practices on school administration, broadening two-way students mobility, enhancing regional research and languages communication.
Ms. Pattanotai briefly introduced the general situation of higher education in Southeast Asia and the efforts of SEAMEO RIHED in promoting harmonization in higher education and research, including co-establishing the ASEAN-China Network for Cooperation and Exchanges among Engineering and Technology Universities (ACNET-EngTech) and the ASEAN-China Arts College Alliance with ACC. She pointed out that quality assurance and credit transfer were the key to higher education exchanges. In this regards, SEAMEO RIHED had made effective efforts in promoting the development of regional education by setting up the ASEAN plus three working group to establish the system of higher education exchange and education quality assurance and ASEAN quality assurance alliance, and achieved good results.
The universities of ASEAN countries and Hainan province introduced themselves on the school administration characteristics, majors and faculties, as well as international cooperation and exchanges. The active interaction and discussion between the two sides enhanced the mutual understanding, set up right direction for future cooperation. The representatives of universities expressed high appreciation to ACC and SEAMEO RIHED for the efforts in promoting education exchanges between Hainan and ASEAN countries, saying that the Seminar provided an opportunity for the universities of Hainan and ASEAN to communicate, built up network and would lay a more solid foundation for future cooperation, and expected more comprehensive cooperation programmes in the future.