Higher education in South East Asia stems from different historical backgrounds and has undergone various kinds of challenges and various stages of development. The rapid expansion of student enrolment, the knowledge explosion, advances in information and communication technology, globalization, economic restructuring, and financial constraints have all contributed to higher education reforms in these countries and resulted in varied outcomes.
To facilitate and enhance sharing and learning between South East Asian countries, UNESCO Bangkok and SEAMEO RIHED carried out a joint research study and seminar on “A Situational Analysis of Higher Education Reforms in South-East Asian Countries” in 2005. The research used case studies from eight countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) to provide an in-depth analysis of their higher education systems. The respective national researchers addressed several issues, including higher education reform, access and diversification; governance and management of higher education institutions; faculty and academic programmes; research capacities; private higher education; the internationalization of higher education; accreditation and quality assurance; and challenges for the future.