ASEAN Education – The Rise of the ‘Glocal’ Student by Kris Stallworthy

ASEAN (The Association of South East Asian Nations) is the political and economic organization of 10 Southeast Asian countries. This year, in 2015 it is the aim of the ASEAN nations to establish AEC, The ASEAN Economic Community, with full economic integration between the 10 nations. Despite this integration having an economic focus it’s impact will reach all areas of society, including education. This move towards integration has seen the rise of what is being coined -The Glocal Student’ – with ASEAN nations leading the way with this fast developing trend.


Glocal Student – What does it mean? A glocal student is a student who has global aspirations but chooses to stay and study in his or her local environment. The Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company have predicted that by 2020 there will be 100 million people with middle class spending patterns across the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Will glocal students from this emerging regional demographic represent the future of transnational education? Transnational education is basically education for students studying in a different country or region than the awarding institution. This is now a very popular way to study both in and outside of the ASEAN community because of these key advantages: – It is more affordable – lower English language requirements – regional economic initiatives The motto of the UN is currently – ‘Think globally, act locally’. The UN agree that in an economic community students should be educated as international students with the ability to compete globally, even if they have been trained locally. Asia’s Economy & The Rise of ASEAN


Right after the global financial crisis more people have been turning to Asia and admiring their booming economy and range of business opportunities. The ASEAN countries are home to 600 million people, with a combined nominal GDP of US$ 2.1 trillion in 2012, predicted to grow at an annual rate of 5.5% in 2013. Higher Education – The Role Higher education in the ASEAN nations is going to play a key role in easing the economic integration. The ultimate goal is to set up a Common Space of Higher Education in Southeast Asia. Individual ASEAN governments have increased public investment in universities to support the ASEAN Higher Education Area, and the region’s burgeoning knowledge economy. Measures have been set up to strengthen the performance of Southeast Asian universities across a wide range of indicators such as teaching, learning, research, enterprise and innovation. At the moment Singapore is the only ASEAN country whose universities are operating at the forefront of Asian higher education. But if Asia continues on its current path and emerges as a genuine competitor to the West in the coming years, the increased financial power of a unified ASEAN could start to have a major impact on global higher education. And glocal students in the region would be among the foremost beneficiaries.


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