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Proceedings » pro5

5th Plenary Meeting of ASEA-Uninet, Phuket, 5-7 February 2001



    • I. OPENING
      • List of Participants
      • Applications of Membership
      • Future Planning of Membership Development
      • Membership Fees
      • Mutual Waiver of Tuition Fees within ASEA-UNINET
      • Communication Procedure
      • EU Programs with SEA: Project Lines and Financing
      • Asian and European Studies Programs
      • Special Programs
      • Summary of Focus Areas
      • Election


The ASEA-UNINET Chairman (Dr. Surapone Virulrak) welcomed all the participants to the 5th Plenary Meeting of ASEA-UNINET and gave a brief historical development of ASEA-UNINET. The Network was founded in 1994 with 25 members and has grown to have more than 40 members with funding support from ministries concerned and membership fees.

The Permanent Secretary for University Affairs (Dr. Vanchai Sirichana) said that learning and cooperation would allow people of the two regions to be more ready both academically and aesthetically in knowledge-based society and the globalization era. He encouraged closer cooperation between ASEA-UNINET's members as well as its linkages with other related agencies to benefit from upcoming EC-ASEAN'S new initiatives.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Austria (H.E. Dr. Georg Znidaric) presented a welcome note by the Austrian Federal Minister for Education, Science and Culture, Ms. Elisabeth Gehrer, and pointed out that ASEA-UNINET with its long-established links and outstanding records does not only exchange staff and students, but also promote understanding between people.

The Executive Director of the ASEAN University Network (AUN) Secretariat (Dr. Supachai Yavaprabhas) mentioned the objectives of AUN's establishment and its main activities. He pointed out that with the same goal towards human resource development by means of university cooperation, AUN and ASEA-UNINET would be able to work closely together within the ASEAN-EU University Network Program.

The European Coordinator (Dr. Bernd M. Rode) expressed the hope that ASEA-UNINET will be able to provide many more practical results from its joint cooperation due to its efficiency and flexibility combined with increased funding support from governments,. The inter-cultural dimension of the network was also cited as being essential for people to widen their minds and appreciate the cultures of the two regions.

Briefing on Prince of Songkla University

The Vice President for Academic and International Affairs (Dr. Supachok Wiriyacosol) gave a briefing on Prince of Songkla University, its vision and mission as well as programs offered at its five campuses.

Report from the Asian Coordinators

Asian Coordinator (Dr. Surapone Virulrak) reported on two recent developments that have affected higher education in the region, namely, attempts to encourage university autonomy and the prevailing regional crisis.
Representatives from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand's Ministry of University Affairs gave a brief report which showed that ASEA-UNINET has continued to contribute to human resource development of the participating member universities. despite the regional difficulties and changes which have taken place.

Report from the European Coordinator

The European Coordinator (Prof. Dr. Bernd Rode) gave a report on developments in the past one-and-a-half years. This included the general agreement among European countries/universities to harmonize programs and curricula and to encourage staff and students to participate in projects/activities in foreign countries. The European side has seen and hopes to see increased multilateral cooperation. It also welcomes new members who would increase the European dimension and geographical distribution.

Prof. Rode stressed that communication has been one of the difficulties to be improved within and between institutions to facilitate cooperation. He, nevertheless, commended the flexibility and prompt working structure of ASEA-UNINET, which also enabled the organization of the National Coordinators' Meeting at the University of Trento at short notice in May 2000.


Applications of Membership

The meeting accepted three new applicants as members, i.e. Université Louis Pasteur, Robert Schumann University-Strasbourg III, Marc Bloch University, as one member called "The Universities of Strasbourg"; Jönköping University; and the University of Verona.

The meeting accepted Tampere Polytechnic University as a member for two inter-sessional periods. During this time Tampere Polytechnic is requested to enlist the University of Tampere and join as one member. In the case of the applications of two Indonesian universities, namely, University of Mataram at Lombok and University of Sumatra Utara, the decision has been postponed until formal applications have been received.
It was also agreed that Thailand's Mahasarakham University (already presented at the third meeting of ASEA-UNINET) would be accepted as a member.
The meeting agreed to the following procedures to accept new members:
1. The interested university sends an application to its National Coordinator who will forward it to the Chairman of ASEA-UNINET.
2. The university will be asked to give a presentation at the ASEA-UNINET Plenary Meeting or a National Coordinators Meeting..
3. The Plenary or National Cooordinators make the decision.

Future Planning of Membership Development

The meeting shared the view that any additional new Asian member countries should preferably be located within the ASEAN region. It was acknowledged, however, that some of these new countries would not be able to make financial contributions. The Network will follow with interest the development in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar and explore opportunities for joint projects, activities in the form of workshops, visits, etc. Thailand was proposed to play a main role in working with these countries.
It was agreed that the Network should adopt a slow growth rate with about 55 members as the upper limit at the present time. The members must be institutions offering graduate programs with research facilities. Private universities will be considered on a case by case basis.

Membership Fees

After some discussion, it was agreed that the membership fees remain unchanged, i.e.

Annual membership fees:
European universities 500 Euro
South-East Asian universities 300 Euro

The one-time enrolment fees:
South-East Asian Universities 250 Euro
European universities 1000 Euro


Mutual Waiver of Tuition Fees within ASEA-UNINET

It was resolved that all ASEA-UNINET members try their best to waiver or compensate the tuition fees for regular programs. In the case of Austria, this resolution will be passed on to the Austrian Rectors' Conference for its consideration.

Communication Procedure

The meeting took note of Prof. Rode's request for more efficient use of the notice board by posting ASEA-UNINET activities to ensure consistent information dissemination and communication. If Internet access is not readily available, fax machines should be left on even after office hours due to time differences.

EU Programs with SEA: Project Lines and Financing

The representative of the European Commission (Mr. Bob Baldwin) gave a briefing about the program 'Asia Link', which has the specific objective to facilitate the creation of new partnerships, reinforce existing partnerships between European and Asian universities and create new sustainable linkages.
The program beneficiaries include postgraduate students, tutors/professors, principals, administrators and educational practitioners in Europe and in South and South-East Asia and China.
Three types of grants are to be provided, namely, Asia-Link Human Resource Development (approx. 20 million Euro), Asia-Link Curriculum Development (approx. 16 million Euro) and Asia-Link Institutional and Systems Development (approx. 4 million Euro). Information support (approx. 2 million Euro) will also be given to establish closer EU-Asian cooperation in the higher education sector.
This five-year program aims to support over 100 cooperative projects, more than 200 teaching and administrative staff, and 600 postgraduate students while some 1,000 higher education institutions are expected to be involved in the projects.

Partner institutions should comprise at least two from the European and one from the Asian side.
In terms of funding, the overall program should amount to 50 million Euro, including 40 million from the European Commission. Support for each project is around 200,000 - 300,000 Euro max., representing about 75% of the overall project costs while the partner institutions cover the rest of the expenses. In case the proposals are from the least developed countries, the grants could cover as much as 90% of the total expenditures.
The European Commission plans to set up its program implementation unit this coming summer and should be ready to call for proposals by the end of 2001.
The meeting has asked Mr. Baldwin to convey its support for the existing networks and the use of expertise of ASEA-UNINET to the EC for its consideration.
It also acknowledged that the Network is in an advantageous position to provide practical advice to establish links and to help member universities submit project proposals since ASEA-UNINET's philosophy, missions and experiences are well in line with the objectives of the Asia-Link program.

Asian and European Studies Programs

Prof. Rode pointed out that Austria and its Asian partners, i.e. Thailand and Indonesia have been able to successfully conduct a pilot program on Asian Studies. It will call for participation from other interested European member universities through the notice board and the web page of the ASEA-UNINET.

Special Programs

The meeting took note of the special programs organized under ASEA-UNINET. Encouragement should be made to send staff to attend these programs which include workshops on specific topics ranging from tourism management and economics to health science.

Summary of Focus Areas

The meeting agreed to have four focus areas, namely, Health Science (Medicine, Agriculture and Biotechnology), Arts and Fine Arts, Social Sciences, and Basic Science and Engineering.
The four groups discussed their respective focus areas and presented the results to the plenary (results to be posted on the web site). It was agreed that at future plenary sessions, national coordinators would have to ask their member universities to determine their areas of interest before attending the meeting. The list is to be posted on the web site for participants to indicate their areas of interest directly and for updating.



The people elected are as follows:
National Coordinators
Austria: Prof. Dr.. Bernd M. Rode, University of Innsbruck
Spain: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hector Rifa, University of Oviedo
Vietnam: Prof. Dr. Sc. Banh Tien Long, Hanoi University of Technology
Indonesia: Prof. Dr. Kusmayanto Kadiman, Institut Teknologi Bandung
Thailand: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prasert Chitapong, President, Prince of Songkla University
Where there is one member university per country, the University Coordinator is automatically the National Coordinator.
European Coordinator
Prof. Dr. Bernd M. Rode, University of Innsbruck
ASIAN Coordinator
Prof. Dr. Kusmayanto Kadiman, Institut Teknologi Bandung
Chairman of ASEA-UNINET
Prof. Dr. Riccardo Zandonini, University of Trento
Remarks from the new Chairman
Thanking the previous Chairman for his work and the Assembly for the trust placed in him, the new Chairman put forward some remarks on ways how to:
- maintain the line of connection
- enhance opportunities of the members to cooperate
- further develop the well-functioning network