MANILA – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) targets to enhance the use of various languages in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines.
In a speech during the kick-off ceremony of the ASEAN’s 56th founding anniversary, CHED Chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III said focusing on ASEAN languages and identity would fortify the regional spirit of unity.
“It is better to show unity in diversity in ASEAN by harnessing the languages of different ASEAN countries in our competitions whether in songs, posters, etc.,” he said.
De Vera particularly pitched the idea of raising regional competitions among the Philippine HEIs in fields like arts and culinary.
“Mag-compete ‘yung mga schools na gagawa ng (The schools will compete in) songwriting competition, but they will write it in other languages of ASEAN, not English. So competitors will write a song that will be sung in Thai, or Vietnamese, etc. para exciting naman (so it will be exciting),” he said.
De Vera said such activities may even entice ASEAN ministers to observe and adopt such ideas in their own countries to further boost partnerships.
“I think these are ways by which we can deepen our understanding of ASEAN,” he added.
Besides language inclusion, de Vera also urged Philippine HEIs to exercise leadership roles in the region.
He commended two universities for taking such roles, which shows a “very good development” from then reluctant HEIs.
“De La Salle now leads the AUN (ASEAN University Network) Thematic Center for Culture and the Arts, and Ateneo heads the ASEAN University Network Thematic Center on ecological education and Culture,” he said.
De Vera said exercising leadership will boost the country’s capacity to be competitive worldwide.
Collaboration among the ASEAN member states can also further help in elevating the region’s performance in the global arena, he said.
“We aim to strengthen ASEAN as an organization that is robust and agile, equipped with enhanced capacity and institutional effectiveness to remain relevant to its people, to its countries, and the region,” he added.
De Vera also lauded the region for showing “tremendous growth” in economy and culture, noting the ASEAN stands 5th in the world economy next to the United States, China, Japan and Germany.
“In higher education, you now see that some of the best universities in the world are coming from ASEAN,” he added.
Source: Philipine News Agency