The idea for a regional association for engineering education was first conceived at the UNESCO Regional Seminar on New Approaches to Engineering Education in Asia, held at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur during March 9-13, 1970. During this seminar, it was recommended that a permanent organization for Engineering Education for the Southeast Asia region should be formed.
The objective of this organization is to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas on new approaches and developments in Engineering Education. This proposal was followed by a meeting at the UNESCO Field Service Office in Jakarta, which was sponsored by UNESCO and the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO). This meeting was attended by representatives from Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand . The Association for Engineering Education in South East Asia (AEESEA) was established.
Its composition and aims was outlined in a constitution which upheld the resolutions formulated during the Regional Seminar of 1970. The inaugural meeting of AEESEA was held at the College of Engineering, University of the Philippines in Manila during October 18-19, 1973 in conjunction with the UNESCO regional seminar on Education, Industry Cooperation and Training. In 1989, the name of the association was changed to the Association of Engineering Education in Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Pacific (AEESEAP), to comprehensively reflect the region of the member countries. Currently, there are 15 voting members of the AEESEAP. The activities of AEESEAP are regulated by a secretariat, which is rotated between the voting member countries every 3 years.
Aims and objectives of AEESEAP
To effectively promote technological and engineering development within the Southeast and East Asia and the Pacific, an association seeks to meet the demand for enhancement of engineering competencies within the region, by way of (i) supporting the economic development for the welfare enhancement of the people within the region; (ii) establishing a networking between and amongst the engineering education institutions, industry and relevant organization; and (iii) promoting development of technology and engineering education system.
The aims and objectives of AEESEAP are as follows:
- To promote an awareness of the need and role of engineering, including technicians, education and training and for systematic research on curricula development.
- To facilitate and stimulate regional cooperation in education and training of engineering personal and to promote
external assistance programs designed to assist in this.
- To identify problem in engineering education and training within the region and to assist in finding solutions
through the exchange of information and personal.
- To provide services aimed at assisting the improvement of the quality of engineering education and the
establishment of new facilities for engineering and technological education in the region.
- To promote continuing education of engineering personal and education industry cooperation.
- To assist existing national societies of engineering and engineering tech nicians and groups of educators of
engineers and engineering technicians in their efforts to improve engineering education.
- To promote the establishment of societies or groups of engineering technicians for this purpose where they do not
- To collaborate with World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), UNESCO and other international
and regional organizations in the planning and implementation of their programs as they apply to the region.
To help joining the Washington Accord
As the economic situation of the nations among the member countries of AEESEAP changed drastically, a corresponding change occurred in engineering education and accreditation systems. The accreditation system for four years engineering education, the Washington Accord, was signed in 1989. The Washington Accord is an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting systems engineering degree programs.
It recognizes the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by those bodies and recommends that graduates of programs accredited by any of the signatory bodies be recognized by the other bodies as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering. The following AEESEAP member countries have been approved as full signatory member, Australia (1989), New Zealand (1989), Japan (2005), Singapore (2006), Korea (2007) and Malaysia (2009). The request for assisting to develop OBE, Outcome Based Education systems, was made by Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and The Philippines.
To implement OBE and to meet Washington Accord requirements, the following activities were suggested;
a) Workshop to share the experiences.
b) Cost sharing (travel cost equalization).
c) Other accreditation support (journey to accreditation).
Problems to meet the requirement of Washington Accord were recognized as follows. a) The very different scale of problems based on population, a population ratio between the largest (China) to the smallest (Brunei) to be excess of 3000 to 1. b) Small countries such as Brunei, Fiji and PNG will have great difficulty setting up an accreditation system. c) The Washington Accord to be approached on the agreed concerns including those related to the development of accreditation systems for small countries with a single engineering school.
2. Assisting establishment of national association If the future of AEESEAP is an Association of Engineering education Associations, AEESEAP should act in place of national association and should assist with the development of national association where appropriate.
3. Approach to UNESCO AEESEAP was formed by strong support of UNESCO. Recently, however, UNESCO support gradually diminished due to the lack of their budget. UNESCO to be asked via both national and international offices, to provide support with the cost of academics visiting to provide assistance, and cost of travels attending meetings.
4. AEESEAP Journal The AEESEAP Journal was published under the editorial management helmed at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaysia. The maiden edition published under the Malaysia Secretariat was launched in November 2005 Unfortunately, no further issues of the journal have been published since January 2007. There was support for cancelling the future publication of the printed journal, but to periodically publish a set of outstanding papers from the conferences as a web-based publication.
5. Website A website should be established soon and be administered by the secretariat, including support to the Executive activities.