ASEAN Economic Community – 2015: Economic Competitiveness for Sustained Growth and the Implication for Education Market
43 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2013
Date Written: February 27, 2013
This paper is organized into five sections. Sections 1-3 explain economic competitiveness and sustained growth in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC-2015). Section 4 discusses the international standardization of educational curriculum among the ASEAN countries, and concludes that standardization will come through market mechanism. Section 5 concludes with the implication for Thai universities in the New Economy. No state policy can bring about harmonization of education in the ASEAN. The ten member countries are too diverse to be harmonized. Education, unlike trade and taxation cannot be easily harmonized. The education system in each country embodies the history, culture and the political will of the people. The national sentiment and national prerogative will take precedent over the drive for a regional commonality. Similar attempt in harmonization of education in a common market by the European Union (EU) after 50 years of incessant effort has failed. It is not likely that the AEC will repeat that failure anew. A more practicable approach is an international standard that is acceptable to ten countries and is an international standard that is independently and globally recognized: standardization through professional certification or designation by chartered professional associations, such as the ACCA for the accounting profession, CFA for the finance profession, and ICPM for the management profession. This model for international standard is not harmonization, but uniformity in standard. Harmonization means each country must follow one form of curricular prescription. Such an attempt fails even before it is conceived. Standardization by means of internationalization under the certification process through uniform examinations would satisfy all member countries. More importantly, professional certification process is achieved through neutral market mechanism that functions as a check-and-balance in quality control process of university education. The contributions of this paper are two folds. First, the analysis of competitiveness and sustained growth for the region introduces no econometric models developed through Bayesian inferential approach. Second, the concept of internationalized education model as a means to achieve a common international standard through market mechanism is a practical approach to synchronize educational institutions and market demands. This paper bluntly rejects the idea of harmonization of education in the AEC as impracticable. In discussing the education market, Thailand is used as a case study. The rationale for selecting Thailand as a case study is supported by the fact that education market in Thailand is mature. It has gone through its life cycle; in order to remain competitive these private universities must be internationalized.
Keywords: ACCA, AEC, ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN education market, CBOK, CFA-Track, country competitiveness, certification examination, designation examination, AEC, economic shock, harmonization, international standard in education, internationalization, prospect theory, risk, standardization, sustained
JEL Classification: C10, C12, C13, C40, C50, C51, C53, F01, F02, F15, F17
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