PENANG, 11 December 2014 - The Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Professor Dato' Dr. Omar Osman was among the Vice-Chancellors of the ASEAN universities who attended the ASEAN-Korea Rectors' Conference 2014 in Busan starting today.

The Vice-Chancellor is representing USM as one of the members of the ASEAN University Network (AUN).

The Conference was organised by the Korea Ministry of Education, the Korea Council for University Education, Korea Educational Development Institute and the National Research Foundation of Korea in celebration of 25 years of ASEAN-Korea Dialogue together with the ASEAN-Korea Summit in Busan Exhibition and Convention Centre (BEXCO), which was also attended by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato' Sri Mohd. Najib Razak.

The ASEAN-Korea Rectors' Conference attracted the participation of 54 universities from eight countries where 27 universities were from South Korea and 27 more from ASEAN countries, and they were represented by their Vice-Chancellor, President and Rector or their representatives.

According to Omar, the conference theme is Innovative University, Korea-ASEAN Co-Prosperity and one of the topics discussed was, "the fostering of future leaders taking the lead of Asian Era, Engine for Economic Growth: University and One Asia, Faculty Student Mobility."

"Among the issues discussed were the higher education and the issue of demographic on the dwindling of population, the challenges of information technology, the ability of governments to provide financial support in higher education, pressure faced by public universities made them better in generating their own income, pressure by industry to the universities lead to the producing of product-oriented researches or solving the industry problems, pressure to produce students who have industrial skills and a mindset towards globalisation," Omar said in the e-mail sent from Busan, South Korea.

He added that an agreement is expected to be achieved for continuous collaboration between universities in ASEAN with universities in Korea.

"Also discussed was the Green Eco-preneurship Accelerated Programme which was implemented by the Hangdong University based on their close local collaboration system that focuses on training and developing entrepreneurial spirit that leads to actual investment opportunities and encouraging the local economy, and at the same time, fostering the next generation leadership," he added.

Based on the presentation and discussion, Omar said, it is clear that there are many challenges that students from the Asian region face such as in situations where many of the best students are more interested in migrating to the developed countries, the mobility out of ASEAN countries is higher than the mobility in and on top of that, the biggest challenge is for students in ASEAN countries to meet the international standards.

The USM Vice-Chancellor is expected to deliver a speech at a dinner in conjunction with the Conference. The conference was launched by the Deputy Minister of Education of Korea, Shin Ho Kim. - Translation: Siti Faizah Abd Halim/Text: Mohamad Abdullah

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