Jussi Mustajarvi & Frederic Bouchon
In the current age of globalization, regional alliances have become the norm, strengthening economic, political and social ties. These alliances are also shaping new regional integration and cooperation among member nations. Integration consists of harmonization and standardization of different systems into one. In higher education, this integration has been spearheaded by the European Union (EU) and by the Bologna agreement in 1999. In Southeast Asia, cooperation started in 1967 with the foundation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which consists of 10 different countries and draws together nations with different levels of development, where integration has become a priority. The roadmap for the ASEAN blueprint set a target for 2015. In ASEAN, the need for education has risen and this awareness can now be found in all the countries. Research on this process, however, has remained limited. This research paper aims to study the regional integration process in the field of higher education in ASEAN and its implications. This paper studies the history of ASEAN development in comparison with the EU education integration. It aims to draw a clear picture of the current stage of integration in education. It also aims to expand the knowledge on ASEAN and its impact on member countries’ higher education. This research uses a qualitative approach, relying on official documents and secondary data gathered from various sources. The methodology used in this paper is comparative case studies from the EU and ASEAN. Findings show that the EU and ASEAN integration processes share many common denominations but also differ due to cultural and governance differences. The ASEAN education integration process is still in its beginning stages with limited achievements, mostly in the field of higher education in tourism, a pioneer in integration.
Key words: ASEAN, education, EU, integration, policy, student mobility, education system, recognition of qualifications