Annual Report 2004
Four years have passed including so-called preparatory stage since the Project was launched in 2001 and we are now in the "jump" stage if we liken the Project to triple jump. Thanks to tremendous efforts of the persons, that have been involved in the Project, of Member Institutions, Japanese Supporting University Consortium (JSUC), JICA Headquarters as well as Project office during the “hop” and “step” stages, every program is now almost settled.
In particular, the Master's Degree Program as well as the Doctoral Degree Programs, as core programs of the Project, have attracted a great deal of interest for young teaching staff and fresh graduates of member institutions. During the “jump” stage, we hope to have similar number of qualified applicants for these degree programs and to strengthen the academic network among ASEAN countries. Although the Doctoral Degree Programs started late, one of the scholars of the Doctoral Degree Program in Japan may be able to earn a Doctorate by a grade-skipping that will be the first doctor produced under this Project. More than 10 scholars of the Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program are going to join Japanese universities to do their research works within a year. In the year 2004, the Project implemented the new program “Short-term Visit within Member Institutions” on a trial basis and had a very good echo from non-hosting institutions. Therefore, this program will be included in the Project activities on a larger scale in the year 2005 in order to enlarge an opportunity for the faculty staff of non-hosting institutions to participate in the collaborative research.
Recently the field-wise seminar has regularly been held twice a year in 9 fields and repeated participants can get to know each other, which has accelerated to establish academic network within member institutions. On the occasion of the seminar, collaborative research themes are thoroughly discussed and the academic linkage among member institutions has been strengthened. This situation is very welcomed if we consider the Project's purposes and its sustainability. The close relationship between the host institution and the coordinating university of JSUC has also been developed through several programs. We also encourage the host institution to have close academic collaboration with other JSUC members if necessary in order to widen research field and enhance academic network establishment.
At the end of the year 2004, a huge earthquake attacked Indonesia and the following tsunami attacked several ASEAN countries with the loss of more than hundred thousand lives, to which I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences. The Project is now planning a workshop on natural disaster mitigation in August 2005 in Phuket , Thailand . I am sure that the so far established academic network in this Project will be very helpful to solve such a serious disaster.
At the end of March 2005, the chairman and three members of JSUC Committee retired from their academic position, to whom I would like to express my sincere thanks for their continuous cooperation since the beginning of the Project. In particular, the contribution of Prof. Dr. Fumio NISHINO since the Project planning and formulation period is highly appreciated. We are also in acknowledgement in each supporting university to assign very active member for their successor.
In the fiscal year 2005, the Project will undergo a mid-term evaluation. Although I believe that the evaluation might be positive on present showing, we should always try to improve our activities.
I would like to finish my message to ask your kind and continuous cooperation in the future.
Professor Dr. Kazuo TSUTSUMI
It is really a great honour and privilege for me to have served AUN/SEED-Net and all its members as the Executive Director since the beginning of the program for four years and seven months.
To my delight and I am sure you share with me, AUN/SEED-Net is starting to have some impact on higher education in engineering in ASEAN. The project has significantly contributed to upgrading of academic staff in some Member Institutions. I can cite the National University of Laos (NUOL) as one example. Dr. Saykhong Saynasine once gave me the information that 50% of the scholarships at NUOL had come from this project which was very significant. Also, enhancement or even initiation of international graduate programs has been effected in some Host Institutions. For example, for Chulalongkorn University and Gadjah Mada University, it is a first time that the universit ies have international programs in their host fields. Thus, the Project has opened a new page in the history of engineering education in ASEAN with far-reaching impact.
Another important issue of significant concern is the sustainability of the Network. Undoubtedly the sustainability of the network would be beneficial for the sustainability of international graduate programs in several Host Institutions. Considerable efforts have been made by the Secretariat, the JICA executives, the Steering Committee members, the Member Institutions, and the high ranking government officials in charge of higher education in some countries. Some groundwork has been laid; but the task is still far from completion. Nevertheless, the past year has seen the beginning of cost-sharing of tuition fees for graduate scholarships contributed by some H ost Institutions, and we really appreciate all the contributions from them.
Now, how should we shape AUN/SEED-Net for the future? Undoubtedly, we need the network to be self-reliant. By this, all Member Institutions have to work hard to strengthen and upgrade the level of engineering education to the international level, and I think this is also the goal of every member in this region. To be self-reliant or to upgrade to the international level, we rely heavily on the contribution and support of the Japanese Supporting Universities and we are really grateful for their continued efforts and contributions.
We want SEED-Net to be a friendly network. I recall the words of Prof. F. Nishino at the beginning of the project. He said the Japanese side was sincere and serious on this project. I think these two words are very important . We want to have sincerity in the operation of the network, and with sincerity and friendliness comes the power of human networking. I have already observed several indication s during these 4 years. Here, I would like to cite a comment from the former representative of ASEAN Secretariat, Dr. Azmi Mat Akhir. He complimented that AUN/SEED-Net was one of the best networks that he had ever seen.
In the present era of information technology, we should utilize IT for the benefit of the network. I think in the near future, we should start to think about IT-based network, making full use of IT for communication, video conferencing of model lectures, seminars, or even high-level experiments that can be conducted only in some universities, for the benefits of the Member Institutions and graduate students.
We have been talking about industrial linkage but we have not yet start ed anything on industrial linkage. I think we have a new Executive Director who has had good contact with the industry. I hope he will have some initia t ive s on this matter in the future.
The present state of the network is attained through concerted efforts of all the stakeholders involved . On behalf of AUN/SEED-Net, I would like to express once again my sincere gratitude for the financial support of JICA, the technical support of JSUC, the partial funding of ASEAN Foundation, the support of ASEAN Secretariat, AUN, as well as concerning authorities of the governments of Japan and ASEAN countries.
In person, I would like to acknowledge the contribution, help and support of the former chairman of JSUC, Prof. F. Nishino. He, together with Prof. K. Tsutsumi, the Chief Advisor, have been instrumental in the formulation of the AUN/SEED-Net Project. The dedicated contributions of the JICA experts and program officers and secretaries in support of the AUN/SEED-Net activities are highly appreciated.
Prof. Tsutsumi once mentioned that in education , five years was too short; so we hope that JICA will extend the support for the second phase beyond 2008. However, in the long term we have to stand on our own, and that is why self-reliance is very important.
Finally I hope that you will lend full support to the new Executive Director. I also sincerely appreciate your continued cooperation and support.
Prof. Dr. Panitan Lukkunaprasit
Aiming at human resources development with in the region in the field of engineering, a consortium of graduate schools of engineering has been established by utilizing leading human resources from Member Institutions and Japanese Supporting Universities with the focus on 9 fundamental engineering fields. One Member Institution has been assigned to host one field, which will act as the “regional hub” of the field.
The major task of these so-called Host Institutions is to train young graduates and teaching staff from other Member Institutions to acquire master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in Sandwich Programs with Japanese Supporting Universities.
In order to assure quality of thesis research of AUN/SEED-Net students, each Japanese Supporting University, headed by a Japanese Field Coordinator in the respective field, will assist Host Institution in joint thesis research supervision, through the Collaborative Research and the Japanese Professors Dispatch Programs. Other supporting programs include “Short-term Visit Program to Japan”, “Short-term Study Program in Japan”, and “Short-term Visit Program within Member Institutions”. The concept structure of the AUN/SEED-Net Project Activities has been elaborated in the Annual Report 2003 and is illustrated in the accompanying chart.
Nine Engineering Fields & Respective Host Institutions
(The two Singaporean Member Institutions, namely NTU and NUS, may host every engineering field.)
Concept Structure of AUN/SEED-Net Project Activities
This year, the Network is pleased to welcome the second batch of graduating students in the Master's Program. As of May 2005, twenty-five new graduates have followed the successful path of their predecessors, plus another four who are still waiting for their final thesis results from Singaporean universities. These graduates, most of whom are faculty staff, have already returned to contribute to their Sending Institutions and/or countries, three of whom will pursue the Ph.D. level, two under Ph.D. Sandwich Program, and one under Ph.D. Program in Japan.
For JFY2005, the program received applications from 136 applicants from 13 Member Institutions, which showed a slight decrease of 18% from last year. This significantly resulted from careful internal selection at the Sending side as well as certain strict entry requirements at the Hosting side, such as English proficiency.
Chart 1: Number of applications and scholarships awarded under Master's Degree Program 2005, as of May 2005
As of May 2005, seventy-one scholarships have been announced, 9 of which were declined, resulting in the total number of 62 scholarships awarded to students from 11 institutions; namely, BUU(1), DLSU(2), HCMUT(7), HUT(8), ITB(6), ITC(10), NUOL(8), UGM(9), UP(3), UY(4), and YTU(4). These scholarships cover 10 Host Institutions, excluding NTU whose awarding result is expected to be announced later. The details of scholarships awarded are summarized in Chart 1. The total number of scholarships awarded since 2001 are shown in Chart 2.
Chart 2: Scholarships awarded under Master's Degree Program since 2001
The Ph.D. Sandwich Program clearly illustrates joint collaboration between Host Institutions and Japanese universities in close supervision of students whose studies are based at the Host Institutions with part of research work carried out at the Japanese co-advisors' universities in Japan. This supervision is made possible through several supporting programs such as the Short-term Study Program to Japan and the Japanese Professor Dispatch Program.
In JFY 2004, the AUN/SEED-Net Project awarded 13 scholarships for 8 engineering fields; i.e., 3 in Civil Engineering and 2 in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at CU, 3 in Chemical Engineering at DLSU, and one each to Mechanical Engineering at ITB, Geological Engineering at UGM, Manufacturing Engineering at UM, Environmental Engineering at UP, and Materials Engineering at USM.
For this new JFY 2005, the program received a slightly increasing number of applications. Out of the 32 applicants, seven are graduates from the AUN/SEED-Net Master's Program. Due to certain difficulties in arranging proper matching of host advisors and Japanese co-advisors for the applicants, the Secretariat has been able to award only 8 scholarships as of May 2005, 2 of which were declined. However, 15 more applicants have been shortlisted, many of whom are expected to be awarded later this year, to fulfill the annual quota of 18 scholarships. The 6 scholarships awarded so far are comprised of two in the field of Information and Communication Technology at KMILT, and one each in Civil Engineering and Electrical & Electronics Engineering at CU, Geological Engineering at UGM, and Environmental Engineering at UP. The total number of scholarships awarded since 2003 are shown in Chart 3.
Chart 3: Number of applications and scholarships awarded under Ph.D. Sandwich Program since 2003, as of May 2005
The AUN/SEED-Net ship took me to Manila on the first of September 2004 . The first months at De La Salle University were very challenging when all 12 AUN/SEED-Net scholars including myself began our integration to the University. I had been aware day by day of the kindness and friendliness of my Filipino classmates and people around. I could still recall the first Happy New Year party in Manila which was very delightful, and how much concern and kind assistance Prof. Dr. Gaspillo and other staff gave to us during that time.
It is so surprised at that each semester passes so fast and we have now become members in this big family. Our tight helping hands made all of the AUN/SEED-Net members get closer and achieve good academic results. To live, study, and experience a life here is so great and challenging.
I am glad to know that the AUN/SEED-Net ship is carrying more and more passengers who are fond of learning, dynamic and friendly. All of us journey together for great desire of enlarging knowledge, improving ourselves and growing as better people. Let's go together ahead, overcome all obstacles and grow!
From Mr. Tran Hai Ung, Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering, one of 12 scholars from HCMUT who were awarded scholarships to DLSU in JFY2004
As in the previous years, AUN/SEED-Net provided support to Host Institutions to visit their prospective Sending Institutions under the ‘Promotional Trip Program' to promote their graduate programs and Collaborative Research activities, as well as to recruit outstanding candidates to AUN/SEED-Net Master's and Ph.D. Sandwich Programs.
In JFY 2004, 41 trips were supported for 9 Host fields to pay visit to 14 universities. The average number of universities visited by Host Institution of each field was 4.7, while the Host Institutions that were able to make the most efficient utilization of the Program were UP, UGM, and ITB, each of which made visits to 6 universities.
Learning from the experiences in the early period of implementation of the Doctoral Degree Program in Japan in Year 2002 and 2003, with the awards of 4 scholarships for each fiscal year despite the quota of 9, AUN/SEED-Net made an effort to reduce the time-consuming procedural matters. As a result, the Project received in total 37 applications and was successful to fully utilize the quota of 9 scholarships for the Doctoral Degree Program in Japan for the first time in the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004.
However, one of the above successful candidates of Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 has discontinued the study in Japan after a certain period of stay due to a serious health problem of a family member.
Out of 38 applications received for the Japanese Fiscal Year 2005, the Secretariat announced, in April 2005, nine successful applicants. The details of awards of scholarships for the Doctoral Degree Program in Japan for the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 and 2005 are summarized in the table below.
Though the numbers of applications of Year 2004 and Year 2005 are almost the same, the qualifications of the applicants for Year 2005 are considerably better than those in the previous year. In addition, it is also noted that all of the successful candidates of the Doctoral Degree Program in Japan 2005 graduated under the AUN/SEED-Net Master's Program.
I am overjoyed to join Tokyo Tech as it is a leading university in science and technology with well-organized educational system, well-planned curriculum, and well-equipped academic environment. In our lab, there are 11 students from China , Spain , Brazil , Laos , Korea , Indonesian, and Japan . We have weekly presentation on our research progress where problems on the research can be discussed and solutions can be advised by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Takahashi.
The early days of my study were very difficult. The language and the cold weather seemed to be the biggest problems to me. However, the best solution is friendship, among international students and Japanese friends. Their friendship is the most valuable thing I am going to bring back home with me.
I have fallen in love with the Japanese latest technology, education, food, culture, history, etc. I am grateful for the opportunity the AUN/SEED-Net has provided to me to study here in Japan.
From Mr. Rachmat Sriwijaya, a teaching staff from UGM, studying at Department of International Development Engineering (IDE), Tokyo Institute of Technology, under the Ph.D. Program in Japan since October 2004
--Collaborative Research Program--
The Collaborative Research Program provides the AUN/SEED-Net students with resources to produce high quality thesis research of international standard within a designated duration. There were in total 61 Collaborative Research projects approved in the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 with the total support amount of USD 253,835 for 73 master's students and 13 doctoral sandwich students.
After the first batch of Collaborative Research Program for the Japanese Fiscal Year 2005 was announced in February 2005, the Project has granted support for 60 Collaborative Research Projects in which 68 master's students and 18 doctoral students in the sandwich program are involved.
The detail of Collaborative Research Projects during the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 is given in the table below.
--Thesis Research Support Program--
The “Thesis Research Support Program” is another support scheme which was designed for those AUN/SEED-Net students who were enrolled before the concept of Collaborative Research Program was finalized and whose thesis research topics are outside of the scope of Collaborative Research themes set by Host Institutions.
For the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004, AUN/SEED-Net has granted support to 3 students in the field of Civil Engineering and one student in the field of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Chulalongkorn University , with the total amount of 14,139 USD. The number of students under the support of Thesis Research Program for the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 has decreased over 70% comparing to the previous year. This is a good sign which shows that the majority of AUN/SEED-Net students are involved in the major stream of Project activities.
The detail of Thesis Research Support granted during the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 is given in the table.
-- Special Equipment JFY 2004 --
While the budget under Collaborative Research Program includes the support for small equipment and parts, the more costly equipment of over JPY 200,000 can be requested under Special Equipment for Collaborative Research Program.
Special Equipment for Collaborative Research Program is a 3-year supporting program (from JFY 2003 to 2005) aiming to help provide the Host Institutions with sufficient, necessary and high-quality equipment during the initial stage of AUN/SEED Project implementation as to ensure that the equipment will be fully utilized by AUN/SEED-Net scholars for the years to come.
In JFY 2004, 17 sets of equipment were granted to 7 Host Institutions. The total supporting amount, including some equipment still under process of procurement, indicates USD 390,460. UGM received the highest granting amount, while UP did not request for any special equipment.
Details of special equipment provision are illustrated below.
Special Equipment Support JFY2004
--Field Wise Seminars --
Started in the Japanese Fiscal Year 2002, the Field-wise Seminar Program offers the stage for all experts concerned to discuss the Project and systematize collaborative research activities among Member Institutions. It has brought about the following outcomes: (1) Finalization of research umbrellas and thesis research topics under Collaborative Research Program; (2) Better understanding of the AUN/SEED-Net Project and improved cooperation from non-hosting Member Institutions; (3) Wider involvement of non-hosting Member Institutions in Collaborative Research; (4) Strength in capacity building in ASEAN scale. During the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004, 17 seminars for all 9 engineering fields were organized across the region.
The details of 17 Field-wise Seminars within the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 are given in the table below.
--Short-term Visit Program to Japan and Japanese Professors Dispatch Program--
The Short-term Visit Program to Japan and Japanese Professors Dispatch Program were devised in order to allow visits of Japanese professors to Member Institutions, and visits of students and advisors to Japan , in order to strengthen academic and research collaboration and capabilities.
During the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004, 34 teaching staff of Member Institutions participated in the Short-term Visit Program to Japan mainly to discuss Collaborative Research topics, and visit laboratories. Twenty-three Japanese professors from Japanese Supporting Universities were dispatched to Host Institutions under the Japanese Professors Dispatch Program mainly to discuss Collaborative Research, conduct experimental research, and give lectures or advices on operation of equipment purchased under the Collaborative Research Scheme. The increasing number of visits and dispatches can be observed with the implication that both of the Programs have been utilized effectively to enhance research collaboration.
The details of Short-term Visit Program to Japan and Japanese Professors Dispatch Program for the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 are given below.
--Short-term Study Program in Japan--
The Short-term Study Program in Japan is launched to support AUN/SEED-Net doctoral sandwich students, who have studied for one year or more at Host Institutions, to visit their Japanese co-advisors at Japanese Supporting Universities for a period of less than one year in order to receive joint thesis research supervision. The Program is designed not only to ensure high quality of doctoral thesis but also to enhance the research collaboration between Host Institutions and Japanese Supporting Universities.
The Short-term Study Program in Japan was first announced at the third quarter of the Japanese Fiscal Year 2004 for the start of implementation within the Japanese Fiscal Year 2005. So far the AUN/SEED-Net received in total 12 proposals.
--Short-term Visit within Member Institutions (Trial Implementation)--
The Short-term Visit within Member Institutions allows the teaching staff of non-hosting Member Institutions to visit Host Institutions of the respective fields for a period of 10-30 days. The Program aims to encourage teaching staff of Member Institutions to be continuously involved in Collaborative Research with Host Institutions, and to promote an intimate human networking among Member Institutions.
As the Program was first launched as a trial implementation at the third quarter of the fiscal year 2004, there were only three participants despite the expected number of 9 participants (1 per field). Out of these three participants, two of them (1 from HUT, 1 from BUU) visited DLSU, and the other one (from HUT) visited ITB(INA). All of these participants are those who have been involved in the Collaborative Research Projects as co-investigators. The Program has significantly enabled them to conduct experimental work related to the Collaborative Research Projects at Host Institutions, and to discuss and plan for future research collaboration.
The details of Short-term Visit within Member Institutions 2004 are given in the table.
While the funding support for AUN/SEED-Net Project derives from the Government of Japan mainly through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a part of the fund came from the ASEAN Foundation. In November 2001, Prof. Dr. Panitan Lukkunaprasit, on behalf of the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat, signed a project contract relating to support program for Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network with H.E. Mr. Wisber Loeis, Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation. The duration of the support from ASEAN Foundation is thirty-two months, starting from December 2001 to July 2004. Activities launched under the ASEAN Foundation assistance embrace Graduate Study Program for Master's Degree (2-year program), Research Project Support Program, and Support Program for Academic Seminar, with details as follows:
In response to the Tsunami disaster on 26 December 2004 that affected the most part of ASEAN region, including Indonesia, Thailand , Malaysia , and Myanmar , AUN/SEED-Net has called for academic and technical collaboration from universities in the affected areas as well as Japanese universities to attain a sustainable mitigation of tsunami and earthquake hazards. It was agreed at the AUN/SEED-Net 8th Steering Committee Meeting in Yangon , Myanmar , on January 21, 2005 , that certain activities should be initiated with regard to tsunami disaster mitigation in the long term.
Later on March 9, Prof. Dr. Panitan Lukkunaprasit paid a courtesy call on Mr. Mitsuru Suemori, Managing Director of Human Development Department, and Mr. Shuji Ono, Director of Technical and Higher Education Group, at JICA Headquarters, one purpose of which was to seek for JICA support on this initiative. Following the discussion, two meetings were organized with two Japanese Supporting Universities (JSUs), at the Secretariat Office, also participated by CU. One was held on March 16 with Prof. Tamon Ueda from Hokkaido University , and the other on March 21 with Prof. Chitoshi Miki and Prof. Tatsuo Ohmachi from Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT). It was recommended that AUN/SEED-Net help coordinate with Member Institutions concerned as well as other key universities in Thailand so that proposed activities could benefit the region as a whole.
In consultation with both Japanese universities as well as CU, the Project arrived at an agreement to hold a workshop on disaster mitigation and management, with emphasis on tsunami and earthquake, tentatively scheduled in August 2005. The workshop aimed at sharing of information and research experiences among ASEAN countries and JSUs, identifying roles of universities in research and education, as well as identifying new topics for Collaborative Research Projects related to tsunami and earthquake.
In addition, the mission team from TIT proposed that some lectures on topics such as earthquake engineering, tsunami science, risk management, disaster mitigation, etc., could be given through internet transmitted from the Institute campus, with Chulalongkorn University as the core coordinator. Collaboration in research related to disaster mitigation could also be supported by the Centre of Excellence on Urban Earthquake Engineering (CUEE) of TIT.
Following several discussions and meetings with Member Institutions, Japanese counterparts, and key stakeholders at ministerial levels, the Secretariat had finally completed a ‘ Position Paper on the Sustainability of the AUN/SEED-Net Project ', aimed towards sustainability of the Project after the period of JICA support in 2008. It was endorsed at the AUN/SEED-Net 7 th Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2004 Annual Meeting in Bangkok on June 25, 2004 , and subsequently acknowledged by the 16 th AUN Board of Trustees Meeting in Siem Reap on November 29-30, 2004.
The Position Paper pointed out main indicators of success of the Project, including Cooperation of Member Institutions, Quality of Output, Human Networking, Enhancement of International Programs of Study at the Graduate Levels, and Partnership. It strategically recommended three schemes for ‘ Sustainability with Partnership for Mutual Benefits ': a) A fund to be set up with annual contribution from all Host countries to support about 25% of the total number of scholarships; b) Allocation of part of the existing scholarships already designed for foreign students from agencies of Host countries (e.g. Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency in Thailand) to the Project; and c) Expansion of network through local provision of scholarships to local teaching and research workforce, with local Host Institutions serving as hubs in respective countries.
Although these schemes are still under consideration at some Host countries, which may need more time and effort to be fully materialized, the Project has already received significant support and strong commitment from some Host Institutions, particularly in terms of cost-sharing. In the next academic year 2005, NUS will equally share the funding of monthly stipends and tuition/research fees of 2 students. NTU has agreed to award upto 3 scholarships to highly qualified students under certain conditions. As for support of extension cases, NTU and CU already waived tuition fees during the extension period for 3 and 1 students, respectively. In addition, as support towards the sustainability of the Project, NTU is agreeable to absorb the tuition fees for the extension period that is approved by NTU and AUN/SEED-Net for further cases. Likewise, the University of the Philippines (UP) has agreed to offer the waiver of tuition and international student fee beyond the scholarship duration for a maximum of one semester only for AUN/SEED-Net scholars.
Furthermore, both NUS and NTU have approved to extend support for conference participation to selective AUN/SEED-Net Master's students, which is usually offered to Ph.D. students only. Both universities have also committed to support upgrading of outstanding Master's students to the Ph.D. level on a cost-sharing basis.
As for expansion of the Network, the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) of the Ministry of Education of Thailand has approved a project according to the last scheme proposed in the Position Paper, by allocating 24 doctoral scholarships each year, for a period of 4 years, to Thai faculty staff to study together with existing AUN/SEED-Net students at CU and KMITL. The project is titled ‘ Faculty Development Scholarship Program in Engineering with the Collaboration of AUN/SEED-Net'.
CHE Faculty Development Scholarship Program in Engineering
The Faculty Development Scholarship Program (FDSP) in Engineering has been proposed by AUN /SEED-Net Secretariat and endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education of Thailand (CHE) to support the sustainability of AUN /SEED-Net. With the purpose to increase the number of high quality lecturers in Thai universities and to strengthen the academic productivity in engineering education, the Secretary General of CHE agreed to grant graduate degree scholarships to Thai faculty members and faculty members-to-be, as proposed by the Secretariat at the 2 nd Joint Coordinating Committee Meeting on 17 June 2004.
The program is tenable for 4 years starting from 2005, with 24 doctoral scholarships per year allocated for each of the 3 engineering fields, which are hosted by Chulalongkorn University (for Civil Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and Information & Communication Technology) and King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (for Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and Information & Communication Technology). During the scholarship period, the scholars are eligible to study at a university in Japan or other countries for 1 year under the support of CHE.
Apart from internal assessment through Progress Reports from students and Evaluation Reports from Monitoring Committees, the Secretariat also takes opportunity to visit each Host Institution to directly gather information, requests, recommendations as well as complaints from faculty staff and students. These monitoring activities are aimed to maintain high quality output of the Project.
Following the monitoring visits to CU, KMITL, DLSU, UP, UM, USM, ITB, and UGM last year, which yielded good outcome and feedback to the Program, this year AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat and the JICA Team made 2 monitoring visits to the other 2 Singaporean universities, NTU and NUS, in November 2004.
In terms of success of the Project, the Secretariat paid much attention to the Graduate Degree Programs. Chart 4 shows the status of all awarded students under the Master's Degree Program since 2001. As of May 2005, the Program has awarded 203 scholarships, 39 have successfully graduated, and 4 have completed their studies awaiting for final thesis results. Another 154 (including new intakes) are studying in academic year 2005, whereas 6 were terminated due to several reasons including physical/mental health problems (5) or misconduct (1).
Chart 4: Status of all awarded students under the Master's Degree Program since 2001 , as of May 2005
With regard to the completion of degrees within the scholarship period, since the start of the Master's Degree Program, there are altogether 51 students expected to graduate before April 2005. As of May 2005, only 34 could successfully graduate within 2 years, plus another three at Singaporean universities who are still awaiting final thesis review results by external examiners. The rest, excluding one who terminated due to physical health problem, are 13 extension cases (or 25% of the total number of students expected to graduate by May 2005), 5 of whom graduated after extension, one is waiting for final thesis result, 6 are still working hard towards completion, while the other one was terminated after extension due to mental health problem. The details are summarized in Chart 5.
Chart 5: Graduation status of Master's students who are expected by May 2005
This striking 25% rate of extension of scholarships beyond the 2-year duration was due to several factors, including incompatible academic background of students, and high expectation of advisors on thesis work in some cases. Furthermore, several cases of extension came mostly from the first years of operation when the program had not yet been well formulated. The Project, therefore, believes that, with careful screening of qualified applicants at both Sending and Host Institutions, together with attentive supervision and proper guidance by the advisors, the percentage of extension cases will decrease over time.
Realizing that extension of scholarship leads to reduction of budget for other activities, the Secretariat has set out a tough policy in granting extension to students. It has been emphasized that the scholarship duration is strictly 2 years for Master's level. If an extension case arises and is approved by the Host Institution, the Host is requested to cost-share the additional expenses by waiving tuition fee during the extension period, while partial monthly allowance may or may not be provided by AUN/SEED-Net, depending on circumstances.
-- Courtesy calls –
20 July 2004 : Mr. Shinya Nakai, former Residence Representative of JICA Thailand, together with his successor Mr. Mikihiru Sato, who has started the post since July 18 as new Residence Representative, paid a courtesy visit to the Secretariat. According to Mr. Sato, the AUN/SEED-Net Project, with its smooth implementation, would become the model project for regional cooperation for JICA which is now focusing on the future collaboration among ASEAN countries.
30 October 2004: The Secretariat and the JICA Project Team for AUN/SEED-Net, led by Prof. Dr. Panitan Lukkunaprasit, paid visit to Dato' Prof. Hassan Said, Director of Higher Education Department, Ministry of Education of Malaysia. The meeting was also participated by the two Member Institutions in Malaysia , UM and USM.
The discussion covered the preparation for the bilateral arrangement with the Malaysian Government so as to accommodate official requests for sending Malaysian scholars to Japan under the Ph.D. Sandwich Program and Ph.D. Program in Japan , as well as the sustainability issue whereby contribution of scholarships from the Malaysian Government to both local and foreign scholars.
9 March 2005 : Prof. Dr. Panitan Lukkunaprasit paid a courtesy call on Mr. Suemori and Mr. Ono at the JICA Headquarters. Discussions were made on the general operation of the AUN/SEED-Net Project as well as the Project's initiative to take a constructive role towards tsunami disaster mitigation.
13 May 2005: Mr. Mitsuru Suemori, Director General of Human Development Department of JICA Headquarters, together with Mr. Yoichiro Kimata, Assistant Resident Representative of JICA Thailand Office, paid courtesy visit to the new office of AUN/SEED-Net.
On this occasion, Prof. Dr. Panitan Lukkunaprasit gave updates of the current activities as well as led some discussion on AUN/SEED-Net's role and capacity in linking the universities in the Network for tsunami disaster mitigation, and on the Project's mid-term evaluation by JICA tentatively scheduled later of the year.
-- Collaboration with NUS on Internet II --
At a visit of the Secretariat to NUS on November 23, 2004 , Prof. Soo-Jin Chua, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), also a professor at NUS, agreed to disseminate lectures given at NUS to some Host Institutions, primarily to CU, through video conferencing via Internet II. The real-time broadcast will facilitate live presentation and interactive discussion at both gateways. The collaboration, when made possible, will open a new face of academic alliance whereby students and faculty staff of the Network will greatly benefit from NUS notable resources.
AUN/SEED-Net New Office
In April 2005, the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat Office moved from Room 208 of the 2nd floor of the Faculty of Engineering Building II to Room 109-110 of the ground floor of the same building. A blessing ceremony was held on May 26, following the tradition and custom of Buddhism in Thailand . The new office, kindly contributed by CU, provides the Project more space, accommodating bigger working zone, four executive rooms, one conference room, storage area, and a small pantry.
AUN/SEED-Net New Website
In response to the higher demand of website visits from stakeholders, AUN/SEED-Net has reconstructed its website to cover more detailed information of the Project and to modernize the outlook. New interactive features have been added: Activity Calendar, E-Newsletter Subscription, and E-Contact Form. The new website has been launched since 27 March 2005 . For more details, please visit www.seed-net.org.
AUN/SEED-Net has planned to issue newsletter quarterly to give information about the Project's background and activities, to publicize students or alumni achievements, to introduce the member institutions and respective engineering fields, and to strengthen the relationship among the Network. The first issue for the period of April – June 2005 has been distributed to Member Institutions, students and alumni, Japanese Supporting Universities , as well as other key partners including JICA, ASEAN Foundation, and AUN Secretariat.