23 November 2023

Culmination of Excellence: CALOHEA National Meeting Reached Dazzling Finale at Universiti Sains Malaysia!

Ninnart Ratanasukhon
AUN Programme Officer;

The CALOHEA National Meeting finally wrapped up its final series at Universiti Sains Malaysia on 15-16 November 2023. Since its commencement in March 2023, this two-day hybrid meeting has visited 13 universities in 7 countries across ASEAN on its quest to bolster ASEAN higher education’s internationalisation and degree recognition. Participants engaged in a knowledge-sharing session about CALOHEA’s Recognition Mechanisms as tools for enhancing learning programmes’ transparency, an open policy dialogue, and a hands-on workshop on the practical implementation of CALOHEA’s Recognition Mechanisms. With the conclusion at Universiti Sains Malaysia, ASEAN higher education now saw over 3,000 academic staff and students who are ready and equipped with hands-on experience to propel its higher education to the global level.


The Meeting commenced with an opening remark by Associate Professor Ir. Dr. Fadzli Mohamed Nazri, Dean of the School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, in place of Professor Dato’ Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed, FASc., Vice Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia. He highlighted academic mobility as the key to enhancing higher education in this ever more interconnected world, and that Universiti Sains Malaysia took pride in its ties with global partners through an international consortium of colleges and universities for academic mobility. The university now runs both inbound and outbound mobility programmes and found the tools offered by the CALOHEA Project closely aligned with its missions and initiatives. He expressed his appreciation to all parties who made the Meeting possible and looked forward to the exciting adventure that lies ahead in this journey towards global compatibility.


Following Associate Professor Ir. Dr. Fadzli Mohamed Nazri, Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, AUN Executive Director, congratulated participating universities for their success in adapting and changing aspects of their learning programmes’ qualification management and practices to the global standard using the CALOHEA’s Recognition Mechanisms. He noted the atmosphere of change which had settled in the region over the period of the regional dissemination and expressed his appreciation for the enthusiasm and excitement to apply the CALOHEA’s mechanisms to degree programmes among the universities. In the conclusion of his remark, Dr. Choltis underscored that the period of ‘discussion’ had now passed, and we were now in the period of ‘implementation.’

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As per the tradition of the CALOHEA National Meeting, the participants were eased into the mechanisms and the working of the CALOHEA through a knowledge-sharing session, conducted by Dr. Maria Yarosh, Tuning Academy, University of Groningen, who underscored the contribution of CALOHEA’s Recognition Mechanisms in degree recognisability at international level.

Following Dr. Maria Yarosh, the Meeting welcomed six speakers, each representing a wide array of stakeholders in the higher education landscape, for a policy dialogue session addressing the challenges of preparing job/industry-ready graduates and the potential of Authentic Assessment. The six speakers included:

  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azidah Abu Ziden, Director, Division of Academic Excellence, Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysia. As a representative from the Ministry of Higher Education, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azidah outlined the challenges of preparing job-ready graduates as noticed by the governmental sectors. These challenges included the gap between skills taught by universities and skills required by the industry, the lack of practical experiences, and the lack of ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios, for example. In this regard, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azidah also highlighted some initiatives taken by MOHE to address these matters but still emphasised the role of universities as the pivotal players in designing the evaluation criteria that would bridge these gaps.

  • Assoc. Prof. Ir. Dr. Norazura Muhamad Bunnori, Associate Director, Engineering Technology Accreditation Council (ETAC), Malaysia. ETAC is an accrediting body for bachelor’s degrees and diplomas in engineering technology in Malaysia. In a comprehensive presentation, Assoc. Prof. Ir. Dr. Norazura provided an illustrative picture of the history of the Malaysian engineering education and engineering profession’s accreditation system, the establishment of accrediting bodies, and the current qualifying requirement for engineering and engineering technology programmes in Malaysia.

  • Prof. Dr. Zaleha Abdullah Mahdy, Chairperson, Housemanship Education, Malaysian Medical Council. Prof. Dr. Zaleha gave ‘Housemen Anxiety’ as an example of when training, assessment, and real-life practices did not go hand-in-hand for newly graduated doctors in Malaysia. She recognised the potential of Authentic Assessment in filling in this gap though with acknowledgment of existing challenges such as resource intensiveness, the complexity of assessment design, the consistency and standardisation on a large scale, and the integration into curriculum, for example.

  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. S. Kanageswari Suppiah Shanmugam, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Universiti Utara Malaysia. Assoc. Prof. Dr. S. Kanageswari addressed the ‘bittersweet’ challenges that lay ahead for Authentic Assessment, especially in this fast-changing world. The skills that would be required from the upcoming generation of graduates could be vastly different from the skills that are required today. Authentic Assessment should be designed so that it could ensure the preparedness of the students to take on the fast-changing future. Faculties themselves must also be equipped with skills and mindset fit for carrying out Authentic Assessment for the betterment of the upcoming generations of graduates.

  • Dato’ Ir. Dr. Goh Teik Cheong, Executive Director MEI Group of Companies. Dr. Goh, as a voice from the industry, presented challenges and areas of opportunities for engineers within the industry to work jointly with the universities and bolster the possibility of Authentic Assessment in the subject. Some existing challenges pointed out by Dr. Goh included the lack of practising engineers in the education sector, time constraints on both ends of the parties, and the availability of engineers who hold relevant experiences and are committed to joining the tasks. However, Dr. Goh pointed out that there still were many engineers that were willing to help, and universities could utilise their help in the areas such as industrial training for students, assistance in final year projects, guest lecture sessions, industry advisory panels, and more.

  • Farid Wong bin Fitri Wong Wui San, Alumni Medical Degree Program, School of Medical Sciences, USM. Mr. Wong, who is the alumni of the medical degree programme at Universiti Sains Malaysia, concluded the policy dialogue session with his perspective on the current framework and the challenges faced by the students during the transition to professional life. In the later part of his presentation, Mr. Wong also shared with the audience what potential he saw in the utilisation of Authentic Assessment to improve graduates’ professional transition and what kind of elements should be featured in the Authentic Assessment for a medical degree programme.


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Following the insightful session with the Meeting’s panel of speakers, participants also had the chance to participate in a dedicated information session for their respective subjects, where they could learn more about the methodology of  CALOHEA Recognition Mechanisms and how they worked for each subject.

This theoretical knowledge was later turned into hands-on experience on the second day of the workshop where participants, joined by CALOHEA experts, tried the actual implementation of the Mechanisms in the CALOHEA’s iconic workshop.

As this event at Universiti Sains Malaysia marked the finale of the CALOHEA National Meeting, the ASEAN University Network would like to express its deepest gratitude and appreciation to all the host universities, Tuning Academy, University of Groningen, participating faculties, students, and industry practitioners who made this series of National Meetings possible and contributed to the leap towards the global stage for ASEAN higher education. With the initial phase of dialogue and discussion for the CALOHEA project now accomplished, the initiative is ready to thrust itself into full region-wide implementation as a part of the CALOHEA mission to promote academic and learning excellence, mobility, internationalisation and qualifications transformation in ASEAN higher education. 

Learn more about the CALOHEA Project at: CALOHEA Project’s official website

Read more about previous CALOHEA National Meeting at: