24 August 2023

“International Academic mobility is not a product of chance”, CALOHEA Will Turn Up the Scale of Student and Academic Mobility in Asia

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

At the 8th CALOHEA National Meeting at Universitas Hasanuddin, Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director of the AUN Secretariat, provided a speech that laid down what CALOHEA is all about. Its meaning, its goals, and its mission in the quest to achieve a large-scale global student and academic exchange and mobility.

“It is a common knowledge nowadays that reform in higher education sector in each country is needed so the university will stay relevant to the demands of the economy, society and global community. We have all heard about how universities would change to provide interdisciplinary curriculum, sustainability mindset and culture, lifelong learning, university and industry linkages, and so on so forth. Not only that, but government and higher education institutions need to work together, and within the specific background, regulatory conditions and particular context of each country that have been moulding the relationship between government and universities throughout the history of nation-building in our ASEAN region. It is also a common knowledge that national qualifications framework (NQF), regional qualifications framework (such as AQRF), and even international common qualifications framework are the means to reform and manage qualification systems practised within the university.

High quality standard for any degree program doesn't come easy. International Academic mobility is not a product of chance. It never was and never has been. As a matter of fact, there is something else that brings quality standard and international mobility. It is the systematic management of qualification system. It is the evidence-based proof of high-quality standards offered by the universities. It is the outward-looking to the global quality standards. The essential trinity of acceptable standards in university educational provisions comprises: first, the degrees or qualifications offered, emphasis on each individual student; secondly, how each student is learning, in other words, how the professor is delivering; and thirdly, the outcomes which are what each graduate knows, can do, and with what kinds of attitude. 
National qualifications framework and regional qualifications framework are merely the starting point. I would like to borrow what Professor Wagenaar of Groningen university said many times on different occasions. The projects such as CALOHEA that have been organized by Tuning Academy for many years and focusing on the subject-specific qualification reference framework and its implementation in real terms: is the logical step from the development/movement of national qualifications framework in each country; the logical step to make the benefits of good qualifications management become true.

Universities are looking to improve in quality, linkages with varieties of stakeholders, relevance in the socio-economic settings locally and globally, and contributions to SDGs including access to higher education resources. Whereas demands are exceedingly high, the means to satisfying those demands is not easy to achieve. CALOHEA project is not about paper-work. It is the lingua franca of contemporary practices in comparable and compatible qualifications provided by each university in the global setting and context. If we are going to do our jobs well in student workload calculation as well as in the assessment of students' course/subject/module learning outcomes, the real benefits will not only be with the individual learners, the students of our universities, but to the evidence-based recognitions of our degree programs and their contributions to the job market, bringing credibility and trust in the qualifications we offer to society.”


It is not a product of chance indeed. The efforts towards globalization in universities across the world has brought forth challenges that will require systems and frameworks to make sure it works at such a large magnitude. CALOHEA will establish qualification frameworks that will allow curriculums from universities in Asia to be compatible with each other and further beyond to Europe as well. 

The 3 Recognition Mechanisms (RM) presented in the National Meeting workshops will provide university staff with the techniques and best practices to bring forth degrees or qualifications to international standard. Secondly, it will present working examples of properly calculating workload and monitor how students are learning, and including how professors are delivering the curriculum. Thirdly, it will make sure the outcome of the curriculum develops graduates that are achieving the learning outcomes and ensure they have a deep understanding in their field of study. 

The mission is to get universities across Asia onboard with a wholehearted adherence to the 3RMs. CALOHEA will then be able to bring quality degrees that allow unparalleled mobility for academics to learn or exchange knowledge to achieve learning outcomes. With evidence-based recognition of our degree programmes and their contributions to the job market, we can show society the real benefits in order to bring credibility and trust in the qualifications. Universities must work together, along with their respective governments, to develop quality national qualifications framework in each country. Remember, “International Academic mobility is not a product of chance.” It is the effort of academic institutions worldwide to provide the best quality education for students across all regions.