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ASEAN working together to develop an internationally robust qualifications referencing process

1 October 2021

Jakarta, 1 October 2021 – A total of 87 education and professional qualifications-related officials from ASEAN Member States (AMS) participated in the ‘ASEAN Qualification Referencing Framework (AQRF) Project Phase V: Capacity Building Workshop 1 – Developing Internationally Robust Referencing Process’, which took place from 29-30 September.

Technical experts from the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), along with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), and senior advisors from Malaysia and the Philippines shared insights in their strategic planning to undertake a robust process for referencing qualifications systems to the AQRF regional benchmark. 

At the two-day workshop, the participants gained a more functional understanding of the AQRF’s utility, governance, as well as the essential transparent linkages between the AQRF and AMS’ quality assurance systems. 

Participants also deepened their realisation of the key objectives and components of the AQRF, how to identify quality responses to referencing criteria, and benchmark AMS’ quality assurance system against a regional quality assurance framework. 

Further, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam made valuable contributions to the workshop’s vibrant community of practice dialogue by providing their diverse perspectives.

Commenting on the workshop, the AQRF Committee Chair Pichmalika Yim mentioned that the knowledge, experience, and lessons from the two-day workshop are very useful and provide fundamental knowledge, especially for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam who will be referencing in the near future. 

“The presentations and experience sharing helped us assess the preparation for the referencing reports by some of our members. We hope to continue this kind of sharing in the future. I also would like to have similar workshops at the country level,” she added. 

“We had a good sharing session today, great sharing in fact, and wrapping the day up was a very touching story from Professor Hazman on how the AQRF referencing reports, in reality, have helped students and professionals to benchmark what level one qualification is in comparison to different countries’ NQFs. Thank you for sharing that story with us. I think it’s a motivation for us to keep going on with what we are doing,” added AQRFC Vice Chair Professor Khairul Salleh Mohamed Sahari. 

The workshop was part of the “AQRF Phase V – Capacity Building for National Qualification Frameworks and Referencing” project supported by the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area Economic Cooperation Support Programme. 

It was organised by the project consultant team (Andrea Bateman and Peline Tan), in collaboration with DESE, NZQA, ASEAN Secretariat and AANZFTA Support Unit. 

The AQRF is the first regional qualifications framework in Asia and supports closer cooperation in education and lifelong learning, higher quality qualifications and ASEAN competitiveness. The initiative encourages substantial, ongoing reforms within AMS’s education and training systems. 

In 2020, Indonesia and Thailand referenced their National Qualifications Frameworks to the AQRF, following Malaysia and the Philippines in 2019. These developments were a significant step toward greater regional integration, improving the standard of education, and encouraging student and worker mobility across the ASEAN region. 

For more information on this project or the AECSP, please contact the AANZFTA Support Unit at
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