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ASEAN Qualifications Recognition Framework to be Launched in 2015

By: Jeff Mazzini| Tags:

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be fully implementing the ASEAN Qualifications Recognition Framework (AQRF) in 2015. The AQRF is designed to unify national education frameworks across ASEAN member countries and allow for the mobility of students and professionals in light of ASEAN economic integration.

During the Australia Future Unlimited – Education Partnership Forum 2014 held on 24 April 2014 in Manila, Dr Jose Cueto of the ASEAN Task Force for the Implementation of the AQRF presented on the new framework and its implications. In attendance were 11 Australian providers and 100 representatives from Philippine universities and colleges, government agencies, industry and professional associations, education agents and other key education stakeholders. The annual Austrade forum aims to facilitate more transnational education (TNE) partnerships between Australian and Philippine providers. There are currently more than 30 partnerships with Australian institutions in fields such as hospitality, business and accounting and health.

The AQRF has nine levels, designed as a national qualifications reference for more efficient recognition of qualifications in a wide range of fields and professions. In addition, it is a means to further develop human resources, establish a system of lifelong learning and ensure compliance with international standards. Full implementation is scheduled for January 2015 and is expected to allow students easier access to schools, colleges and universities and for workers to practice their professions across ASEAN.

In the longer term, it will also facilitate qualifications recognition with other regional reference frameworks such as the European Union and the Middle East. This is an important development for the Philippines as it is one of the top five global suppliers of maritime workers, nurses and healthcare professionals, skilled workers, business process outsourcing agents and other professions. International qualifications recognition has long been an issue for Filipino graduates due to an out-dated education system. Professionals such as doctors, nurses and engineers secure only low-skilled work in other countries such as Australia and Canada due to qualifications which to do not meet international standards.

More importantly, the Task Force on the AQRF states that the implementation will be based on the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), as it is the most ideal benchmark for international recognition. The concept of the AQRF was developed during the first ASEAN-Australian-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) Committee Meeting. As a result, there are potentially a number of opportunities for Australian providers to partner with Southeast Asian universities and colleges who are currently aligning to the AQRF standards. Philippine institutions, in particular, are keen to explore partnerships with Australia based on the heightened interest shown during the Business Matching Session between the participating Australian providers and Philippine attendees at the Forum.

Source Austrade:

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