Five Southeast Asia ODL Institutions Collaborate on Institutional Development and ASEAN Studies Research

In accordance with the Higher Education ‘Tri Dharma’, institutions of higher education have an important role in the development of science through good and sound research. Nowadays, this role will be difficult to carry out in the absence of cooperation in the sharing of information and science between institutions. In the effort to continuously improve both the quality and outreach of the researches conducted by higher education institutions, five open universities (OU) in the ASEAN countries have developed a network known as the OU5 and collaborated on institutional development and ASEAN studies research. The OU5 hold their meetings annually and for this year, the meeting was hosted by Universitas Terbuka from January 29 to February 1, 2016 at the JW Marriott Hotel, Surabaya. 

The five members of OU5 are Universitas Terbuka (UT), Open University Malaysia (OUM), University of Philippines Open University (UPOU), Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU), and Hanoi Open University (HOU). The meeting was attended by representatives of the leaders and researchers from each member of the OU5. Rector of UT Prof. Ir. Tian Belawati, M.Ed., Ph.D, Vice Rector I Dr. Yuni Tri Hewindati, and the Head of the Institute for Research and Community Services (LPPM) of UT Ir. Ambar Kristanti Puspitasari, M.Ed., Ph.D. represented UT in the event. The agendas discussed during the meeting were threefold, i.e.: the research results conducted by representatives from the five institutions (UT is represented by the results of research conducted by Dr. UT Herman, M.A. and Dr. Karnedi, M.A. from the Science Center of UT); new joint research projects in 2016 by the five institutions that will be divided into two categories: institutional research and ASEAN studies; and the publication of a special edition of the Asian Journal of Open and Distance Learning (AJODL) in August 2016 with Prof. Dr. Grace Alfonso from UPOU as the special editor. 

In addition to the OU5 member institutions, the representatives of Yangon University of Distance Education (YUDE) also attended the meeting as an observer. YUDE through its representative had expressed its intention to join the network of OU5 during the meeting and this expression of interest was kindly welcomed by the five members of the OU5 network.