The ASEM Education process is mainly based on the cooperation and partnership between Asia and Europe in the field of higher education and lifelong learning. At the ASEM ME3 in Copenhagen in 2011, the Ministers for Education identified four priority areas which since then have continued as the main areas for cooperation:
- quality assurance and recognition;
- engaging business and industry in education;
- balanced mobility;
- lifelong learning including technical and vocational education and training.
The main aim of ASEM ME5 was to maintain the informal nature of the process by strengthening the cooperation and networking in common interest areas.
With 196 participants from 46 ASEM members and 11 stakeholders , the 5th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME5) was chaired by Ms Mārīte Seile, the Latvian Minister for Education and Science. Themed “ASEM Education Collaboration for Results“, ASEM ME5 aimed to ensure a forward-looking dialogue on strengthening cooperation between Asia and Europe.
The Ministers assessed achievements to date, as well as adopted the Conclusions by the Chair, thus setting priorities for the future work-cycle. The 2 Pillar system (Pillar 1 – dialogue-oriented cooperation; Pillar 2 – result-oriented cooperation) was defined in the Conclusions by the Chair and supported by the Education Ministers. The Conclusions by the Chair contains about 20 accomplished / partially accomplished ASEM education activities as well as 15 new ASEM education activities. The document has two important annexes: (1) Future ASEM Education Initiatives and (2) Policy Recommendations developed by the Rectors and the Students during the 4th ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC4). Implementation and follow-up of the activities included in both annexes will make a contribution to the result-oriented cooperation in education between Asia and Europe. Latvia handed over the Conclusions by the Chair to the Republic of Korea, the host of the 6th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME6) in 2017.
The ASEMME5 consisted of two plenary sessions and a political-level informal discussion (Working Breakfast). During the plenary sessions, the participants not only shared experience from their countries and organizations but also gave many constructive suggestions how the issues – skills’ development for better employability and new learning technologies in education – could be tackled through the ASEM education cooperation. The Working Breakfast reflected the different visions on the future of the ASEM Education Process and showed that there is a need for further discussions. At the same time, the main benefits and challenges of the ASEM Education Process were identified. Over 20 bilateral meetings took place and new bilateral agreements between Asian and European countries were signed during the Ministerial meeting.
The succeeding Intermediate Senior Officials’ Meeting (ISOM) was hosted by the Russian Federation in 2016. The 7th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME7) in 2019 will be co-organized by Austria and Romania. The 1st Senior Officials’ Meeting will be hosted by Austria and the 2nd Senior Officials’ Meeting and ASEMME7 by Romania.
ASEM Education Ministers and Delegates were also invited to attend the Erasmus+ Information Day on 29 April 2015 in Riga, organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture.
The objective of the Information Day was to present all the international actions of the Erasmus+ programme, with a focus on funding opportunities for Asia-Europe mobility and cooperation in the field of Higher Education.
Erasmus+ offers a wide range of opportunities for mobility of individuals, capacity building and internationalization and modernisation of higher education institutions and systems. Complementing Erasmus+, the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions also offer greater opportunities for researcher mobility and cooperation.
Information on the Erasmus+ Day can be found here.