“Students are the future of our society. They need not only be trained for gainful employment, rather, they should be prepared to lead. In fact, they could become job creators.” This was one of the highlights of the discussions during the 3rd ASEM Rectors’ Conference (ARC3), in Groningen, The Netherlands (24-26 September 2012).
About 100 university, government and industry leaders, students and representatives of international organisations participated in this conference, which was organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), University of Groningen (RUG) and the ASEAN University Network (AUN).
The main theme of the conference was ‘Universities, Businesses and You: For a Sustainable Future’. Participants’ discussions brought forward proposals to address the pressing issues of sustainability and youth employability.
Recommendations from the rectors included re-examining academic excellence, promoting student entrepreneurialism, creating platforms for exchange of good practices on University Social Responsibility through industry and community engagement, supporting lifelong learning and promoting a credit-transfer system within the ASEM countries.
The university leaders also welcomed the launch of the 1st Asia-Europe Students’ Forum including the participation of selected students in the conference. Both rectors and students strongly supported the continued involvement of the latter in the consultations and policy dialogues within the ASEM Education Process.
The ARC3’s results and recommendations will be presented at the 4th Asia-Europe Meeting of Ministers for Education (ASEMME4) in Malaysia, in 2013.