The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is a non-profit organization established by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) in 1966.
The "new normal" conditions in Southeast Asia compels SEARCA and all of its key partners to initiate anew a paradigm shift towards accelerating transformation through agricultural innovation (ATTAIN).
SEARCA's Institutional Development Assistance (IDA) intends to empower and equip strategically located universities with the necessary resources to cater to the demands for human resources required to boost economic development in the region.
It is recognized that different institutions in Southeast Asia—particularly those located in the growth areas—have different institutional systems, structures, and resources. Therefore, designs and interventions for IDA may vary from assistance in the conduct of an institutional review, to fielding of experts to develop curricula or training modules, or capacitating staff and faculty through educational support interventions (i.e., scholarships, in-house training).
As SEARCA moves to Accelerate Transformation through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN), the IDA program, through the Education and Collective Learning (ECL) Department, promotes key mindset transitions to institutions during program implementation. The model for IDA is based on what works for each institution, considering the different local contexts, challenges, constraints, and opportunities. What is common among all models is the participatory approach to IDA so that all strategies, plans, and activities are identified by the universities together with SEARCA which acts as the facilitator. In this regard, SEARCA's IDA program starts with an institutional diagnosis of the identified target beneficiary institution.
Five universities have partnered with SEARCA under the IDA program:
Savannakhet University in Lao PDR was established in October 2009 and is strategically situated to cater to the demand for human resources needed to boost the economic development of Savannakhet, Khammouane, and Bolikhamxay provinces. These areas are located in the East-West economic corridor, envisioned to link Vietnam and Myanmar through Lao PDR and Thailand.
Founded by Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1964, the Royal University of Agriculture is one of Cambodia's leading higher education institutions that develop human resources in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and related sciences as well as rural development.
Yezin Agricultural University, formerly known as the Agricultural College and Research Institute of Mandalay, was established in December 1924. Operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of Myanmar, it is the first institution to offer agricultural education at the college level. Today, it is still Myanmar's only institution of higher learning in agriculture.
National University of Timor-Leste was established in 2000 in the aftermath of the country's independence. It is a non-profit public higher education institution in Dili, Timor-Leste and considered as the largest university in the country.
TUAF was established in 1969 as part of Thai Nguyen University and is one of the four leading national agricultural universities in Vietnam. It is also considered as a center for training, scientific research and technology transfer in agriculture, forestry, environmental and resource management, and rural development in the midland and northern mountainous provinces of Vietnam.
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