Authors: Nopraenue S. Dhirathiti and Gamolporn Sonsri

Research Article

Year: 2019, Volume 19 Number 2

Page: 164–179


The force of regionalization has become the main discourse in public policy for many years, especially in the extent of what a regional integration would contribute to the success of the objectives set out to promote economic, political, and social cohesion. Following the completion of the integration process of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in late 2015, the higher education sector is one of many policy branches where the force of regionalization has touched. Although Europe has ventured on the route towards a deeper integration and harmonization of higher education to establish a platform where graduates and educational staff can benefit from aligned higher education systems for teaching and learning, research and mobility, the same scenario does not seem to hold true in Southeast Asia despite the move toward a deeper ASEAN integration. This study takes on the main objectives to, firstly, do a stocktaking of policy discourses and implementation in ASEAN countries regarding the harmonization of higher education in the region using the key harmonization dimensions set up in the Bologna Process. Despite policy rhetorics at the ASEAN Secretariat and by some political leaders, each member country seems to move along the process at a different rate and varieties. The second objective is to examine the role of the key actors in the region in promoting the process, ranging from the national governments, higher education institutions, and regional higher education networks. Depending on the governance structure of each country, the development of the harmonization process seems to be shaped by all three main actors, with a different degree of involvement and success.

Keywords: harmonization of higher education, ASEAN Community, ASEAN Higher Education