Policy dialogue pushes for alignment of agri education priorities in ASEAN

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An ASEAN Technical Meeting and Multi-Stakeholder Policy Dialogue on Higher Agricultural Education, Research and Extension (ASEAN HAERE) for Food Security and Sustainability was jointly organized and sponsored by SEARCA, the Food Security Center (FSC) of the University of Hohenheim of Germany, and the Chulalongkorn University School of Agricultural Resources (CUSAR) of Thailand. Held on 6–7 December 2017 at the ASEAN Secretariat Building in Jakarta, Indonesia and attended by 30 participants, the meeting cum workshop intended to support the ASEAN Work Plan on Education and align HAERE into the priority areas of ASEAN.

The meeting was opened by Dr. Rodora Babaran, Director of the Human Development Directorate of the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), followed by messages from Dr. Wayne Nelles and Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, who were representing the organizers of the workshop. In a rare occasion, the dialogue cum workshop gathered the heads of three divisions of ASEC (Education, Youth and Sports; Food, Agriculture and Forestry; and the Environment) to present their respective priority areas for collaboration. The state of HAERE in the national, regional, and international levels were also discussed, and gaps were identified.

Several action plans that came up from the workshop recommended these priorities: a) formulate a set of quality assurance standards for harmonization of ASEAN higher agricultural education curricula; b) optimize the use of information, communication and digital technologies for HAERE; c) develop strategies for engaging the (rural) youth in farming and entrepreneurship; and d) establish/enhance financing mechanisms for small-scale farmers. SEARCA and CUSAR will continue to communicate with the participants to translate these recommendations into collaborative project proposals for submission to the ASEAN Secretariat.

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