BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA, 11 December 2014 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Vice-Chancellor Professor Dato' Dr. Omar Osman proposed the formation of a special group to strengthen the relationship between universities in the ASEAN countries and South Korea.
Speaking at a dinner hosted in conjunction with the ASEAN-Korea Rectors' Conference 2014 in Busan, South Korea, here today, Omar pointed out that Vice-Chancellors, Rectors, Presidents and representatives who attended are aware of the role to be played by universities for national and regional developments as expressed by many speakers at the conference.
“This shows the importance of policy level decisions as part of the efforts to make a shift at the national development planning process.
"We also recognised and acknowledged the visionary pathways, particularly those set by the government and industry for future growth and sustainability especially in the innovation and creative endeavours in technology and development in the context of higher education," said Omar.
The President of Pusan National University, Kim Ki-Seob, was also one of the speakers.
The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Education of South Korea, Woo Yea Hwang, to celebrate the participants of the conference organised by the Ministry of Education of Korea, Korean Council for University Education, Korean Educational Development Institute and the National Research Foundation of Korea in celebration of 25 years of the ASEAN-Korea Dialogue.
The event brought together 54 universities from eight countries of which 27 universities were from Korea and 27 more from the ASEAN countries, namely Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. They were represented by the Vice-Chancellor, President, and Rector or their representatives.
Also present at the ceremony were the President of Korean Council for University Education, Kim Jun Yong; Executive Director of ASEAN University Network (AUN), Assistant Professor Dr. Nantana Gajaseni; and representative of the National Research Foundation of Korea, Chung Min Keun.
Omar proposed that the South Korean Ministry of Education set up a special working group to strengthen the collaboration between the universities of South Korea and those of the ASEAN in areas of development and future cooperation.
He added that the participants agreed that this conference would become an annual event organised by the Korean Ministry of Education with a shared theme of cooperation.
"This conference is very significant because participants can share common challenges facing the higher education sector, particularly among universities in the ASEAN region as well as those in South Korea," Omar added.
He emphasised that it is important for ASEAN universities to work closely ahead of the start of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education of South Korea said in his speech that he hoped to be able to implement programmes related to Sustainable Development issues, especially those related to climate change, disaster management and training in the field of green technology, and training programme for engineering students from ASEAN universities.
He also urged the participants particularly the Vice-Chancellors, Rectors and Presidents of the ASEAN universities to support the initiatives made. - Translation: Siti Faizah Abd Halim/Text: Mohamad Abdullah