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Message from the Convenor  

April 2021

Michael Fay_DSC3561 small .jpg

Dear colleagues in ASEAN and Australia,

We acknowledge the ongoing impact of COVID-1919 on all sectors and all participants in international education. We know that many jobs in the sector continue to be lost, education businesses closed and international students remain isolated from their study and mobility destinations. This month has seen a spike in Covid 19 numbers in India and also in a number of countries in Southeast Asia. Despite this, there are calls for Mutual Recognition of Vaccination Certification for countries that are successfully managing the health pandemic. 

Australia has begun to return to a level of normalcy with large crowds allowed to gather for educational, social and sporting events. In April, a two-way travel bubble with New Zealand was established that does not require travellers to quarantine in either country. The return of small volume programs bringing back international students to Australia continues to be challenging, despite the successful “pilot” program from Singapore to Darwin in November 2020. 

We congratulate Brunei Darussalam as the chair of ASEAN 2021 and look forward to convening a special country focus webinar on Brunei later this year. In the meantime, we also offer our congratulations to NEAS Australia on its upcoming Management Conference and hope both ASEAN and Australian colleagues can take up the special offer to register for what will be a hybrid event. NEAS continues to play an exemplary leadership role in contributing to best practice and quality assurance in the ELT sector across Australia and ASEAN. 

Our articles this month highlight some of the key regional issues impacting on ASEAN-Australia links and partnerships. These include admission and governance practices in higher education as they relate to English language entry levels; online and blended degree pilots in Vietnam between Australian and Vietnamese universities; hybrid learning in Malaysia; strengthening the education and skills training link between northern Australia and the islands of eastern Indonesia; the recent Healthcare Training College agreement between the University of Wollongong Malaysia and Malaysian healthcare provider Ramsay Sime Darby and; the outstanding performance of Australian universities in securing 4 of the top 10 places in the 2021 Times Higher Education Global Impact rankings. These align university practice to the 17 different United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The HEAD Foundation in Singapore is a key partner with AAED and we are delighted to invite you to attend the HESB Webinar: State of Higher Education in the Region. This will be a virtual event held on Thursday April 29th from 10-11.45am Singapore time. 

Warm regards,


Michael Fay


ASEAN-Australia Education Dialogue (AAED) 

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