The Philippines recently hosted the 2nd International Graduate Students Multidisciplinary Research Conference with multiple study presentations and academic discussions on the different challenges the ASEAN Integration will present in the academic community.
Organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning- National Council of the Philippines, headed by Baliuag University (BU) President Dr. Patricia B. Lagunda, the conference brought together more than 80 representatives from different universities and colleges from the region along with resource speakers from government.
According to Lagunda, the theme for the conference was “Embracing ASEAN Integration,” in order to shed light on the role of the academe in the regional cooperation plan and to create a platform for researchers from the region to present their work that may be useful in the political, economic and socio-cultural spheres.
“ASAIHL is committed to promoting actively what ASEAN is all about and what its implications to higher education. This highlights the role of ASAIHL Philippines in its commitment to increasing the awareness about our role in the academe within ASEAN integration framework,” Lagunda said.
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Dr. Patricia Licuanan also spoke on the efforts undertaken by the government in integrating the country’s educational system and standards with its ASEAN counterparts.
Licuanan said internationalization and collaborative research among member states are keys to a stronger integrated region.
“Collaborative research plays a key role not only in nation-building but, especially in this age of regionalization, in strengthening ties among ASEAN academics by allowing them a deeper understanding of the culture, economy, scientific approaches, technology, and business value of each state reflected in each other’s findings,” she said.
She added: “We support initiatives that promote regional mobility through support arrangements such as scholarships, research collaborations, dual and joint degree programs, study abroad and work related learning such as internships and cooperative work placement.”
Another keynote speaker during the conference was former ASAIHL President Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak who explained on the importance of bringing back education focused on collaborative knowledge-seeking instead of it being exclusive and purely leaning on employability.
“We need to change the rules of the game. The mindset must change. The purpose of education is to bring out human values. Everything now is focused on employability,” Razak said.
He added: “Bear in mind that you are shaping your university. Do not let the university shape you. You need to demonstrate research and teaching but you also need to demonstrate community engagement to transform the community given the knowledge that you own.”
Two BU representatives also presented their respective researches during the conference.
Maria Nina Adriano spoke about the positive perception of BU students on internationalization and their high awareness on the opportunities it presents as well as the school’s activities promoting it.
Meanwhile, Christian Jordan presented his study on the link between spirituality and death anxiety among Baliuag’s elderly citizens.
Other researches included promising contributions to technology, teaching practices, and communication barriers among the country’s regions.
According to Lagunda, the scientific review committee of the conference has found studies that may be included in the ASAIHL research journal the national council is planning to produce.
“You can really see that we have a venue here for great minds. Hopefully, the next generation of ASAIHL heads will be able to continue this conference and expand it further,” Lagunda said.
She said the association, can invite in the future, researchers from other ASEAN nations to present their works on the fields of education, technology, business, and government policies.