IIAS | IIAS Newsletter Online | No. 16 | Regions |Southeast Asia

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SEARCA: serving the agricultural and rural needs of the region

The Philippine-based Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) was established in 1966 to help produce highly trained manpower in agriculture and related fields and to conduct research and development activities to accelerate the development process of SEAMEO member countries.

The Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is one of the twelve regional centres of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).
Since 1968-69 SEARCA has been implementing a graduate scholarship programme that enables nationals of SEAMEO countries to obtain their doctoral and master's degrees in selected prestigious universities in Southeast Asia. SEARCA maintains about eighty graduate scholarships every year. A total of 633 nationals of the SEAMEO member states completed their graduate studies through this programme. Many of them now hold key positions in government agencies and universities.
In 1989, SEARCA initiated the establishment of a Southeast Asian University Consortium in order to enhance graduate education in the region. The Consortium has four features: student exchange, faculty visit, research fellowships, and professorial chair.
The five Consortium members are Bogor Agricultural University, Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia; Agricultural University of Malaysia, UPLB in the Philippines, and Kasetsart University in Thailand. The University of Queensland in Australia and the University of British Columbia in Canada participate in the Consortium as associate members.
SEARCA also conducts specialized short-term training courses to upgrade the skills and capabilities of professionals in the SEAMEO region.

Research and development

SEARCA aims to make agriculture a profitable, co-operative, and environment conserving undertaking by promoting the concept of 'commercialization of research results' with the aim of developing rural enterprises. SEARCA has developed a technology commercialization protocol, which is now being tested on nine postproduction technologies in four Southeast Asian countries. Furthermore, SEARCA sharpens the focus of its work in environment on upland or hilly land development. Research is now being conducted in various upland communities to field test upland, soil-conserving technologies and cropping systems. And last, but not least, SEACA incorporates the study of the role of genders in rural development.
Ongoing SEARCA research and development projects are:
1. Post Production Research Application Project
2. Sweet Potato Chips Commercialization
3. Integrated Jalajala Rural Development Project
4. Ned Agro-Industrial Development Projects
5. Socio-Economic Evaluation of Soil Conservation Technologies for Upland Farming Systems in the Philippines
6. Development and Evaluation of Sustainable Production Systems for Steeplands
7. Studies on the Utilization of Sesbania Rostrata as Biofertilizer for Corn and Upland Rice
8. Gender and Development Project

International databases

SEARCA provides access to information on agriculture and related topics through three international databases, namely:
AGRIS, a bibliographical database on completed agricultural research (now on CD-Rom)
CARIS, a bibliographical database on ongoing agricultural research
APINMAP, a bibliographical and factual database on medicinal and aromatic plants

A database containing information on both patented and unpatented technologies with a focus on upland agricultural technologies is currently being developed.

The Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)
College, Las Banos
Laguna 4031
The Philippines
Tel: +63-94-536 2576
Fax: +63-2-813 5697
E-mail; pes@agri.searca.org

SEAMEO: Human resource development in SEA

The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) is at times mistaken to be a unit of ASEAN. The fact is that, like ASEAN, SEAMEO has on its own become one of the most enduring and successful human resource development organizations in Southeast Asian in the second half of this century.

After thirty-two years, SEAMEO's areas of competence have grown so diverse that they touch upon all aspects of life of Southeast Asians, namely: tropical medicine, public health, agriculture, tropical biology, education, science and mathematics, language, archaeology, fine arts, and vocational and technical training
The SEAMEO was established as an intergovernmental body on 30 November 1965 to foster co-operation among Southeast Asian nations through activities in education, science and culture. The SEAMEO member countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Associate members are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
Primarily, SEAMEO was established to promote human resource development in education, science, and culture and thus help propel the member countries to higher level of development. Records in the SEAMEO secretariat in Bangkok show that as of 1995, SEAMEO, through its regional centres established over the past three decades in member countries, had trained 27,855 professionals. Of these, 27,030 were nationals of SEAMEO member countries. Of these, 2,914 SEAMEO fellows had earned their doctoral and master's degrees. The rest had completed specialist, non-degree training courses in various fields.
The Philippines had the highest number of participants in SEAMEO scholarship and training programmes: 8,981. Followed by Thailand (5,268), Indonesia (4,509), Malaysia (4,462), Singapore (1,800), Brunei Darussalam, (728), Vietnam (528), Laos (445), and Cambodia (311).
The fact that SEAMEO has survived the harsh realities of time, notably the vicissitudes brought about by the Indochina War, can be attributed to a number of factors. Among these is the continued all-out support of the governments of the member countries as well as the strong leadership provided by the organization of SEAMEC.

SEAMEO pursues its activities through the twelve regional centres that it has established in the member countries over the past three decades:

1. The Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education (VOCTECH) in Brunei Darussalam
2. The Regional Centre for Tropical Biology (BIOTROP) in Indonesia
3. The Regional Centre for Education in Science and Mathematics (RECSAM) in Malaysia
4. The Regional Language Centre (RELC) in Singapore
5. The Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA) in Thailand
6. The Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (RIHED) in Thailand
7. The Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in the Philippines
8. The Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (INNOTECH) in the Philippines
9. The Regional Centre for Community Nutrition (TROPMED) in Indonesia
10. The Regional Centre for Medical Microbiology, Parasitology and Entomology (TROPMED) In Malaysia.
11. The Regional Centre for Public health, Hospital Administration, Occupation and Environmental health (TROPMED) in the Philippines
12. The Regional Centre for General and Clinical Tropical Medicine\ and Tropical Pediatrics (TROPMED) inThailand

Some of these, like SEARCA and TROPMED, support degree programmes.
Last year, during its 32nd national annual meeting in Manila, SEAMEC approved the establishment of the SEAMEO Regional Center for Open Learning (SEAMOLEC), a proposed centre of expertise on distant education to be hosted by the Indonesian government. The council also welcomed the formation of a new SEAMEO Center in Vietnam.

SEAMEO Secretariat
4th F. Darakarn Building
920 Sukhumvit Road
Bangkok 10110
Tel: +66-2-3910144
Fax: +66-2-3812587
E-mail: exseames@external.ait.ac.th

   IIAS | IIAS Newsletter Online | No. 16 | Regions |Southeast Asia