The 9th : July 2004, Bangkok, Thailand. 2004-07-01

Theme: Power of Youth – Developing Professionalism, Cooperative Learning and Social Responsibility


APSSA Bangkok 2004 Declaration on Student Development


Whereas, we representatives of universities and colleges throughout the Asia Pacific region at the 9th Asia Pacific Student Services Association Conference 2004 affirm that it is imperative that the development of studentsat the tertiary level in particular be without bias or partiality with regard to gender, ethnic background, religion, physical condition, or socio-economic circumstance, we therefore hold these truths to be valid:


1. That students are not only the leaders of the future but also the inheritors of the future. 


Therefore, we declare that those in positions of power in the present must take the lead to prepare for the future by conserving and enhancing the world’s cultural and environmental resources to which students are entitled.


2. That students are not only the human resource of the future but also a valuable human resource in the present. 


Therefore, we declare that students take leadership in, entrepreneurship in, and responsibility for a wide range of diverse events so as to be able to develop the attitudes, experiences and capabilities they need for fulfilling their full roles at present and their expanded roles in the future.  Students are entitled to experiences that develop their capacity to exercise authority and take responsibility for events that affect their lives.


3. That students are not only major consumers of the present, controlling substantial areas of style, popular culture, and technological enterprise, but they are also innovators, designers and trendsetters. 


Therefore, we declare that since students have a sufficient economic, intellectual and emotional stake in the political, commercial and cultural realms they should be significantly included in councils, boards and committees of private and public entities.  Students are entitled to equitable participation and democratic access to the innovative work and roles in universities and the wider society.


4. That students are not only entitled to be learners, but also to be teachers and benefactors in broadly intergenerational intellectual undertakings. 


Therefore, we declare that it is counter-productive for any society to restrict educational endeavors to persons of a narrow age-range, specific economic capacity, or particular ethnicity.  Students are entitled to be able to teach as well as to learn from the perceptions and experiences of persons in every age range.


5. That students are not only at or near the peak of their physical, sexual, and sensate development, but they are also maturing in their spiritual, social, aesthetic and intellectual capacities. 


Therefore, we declare that it is not only in the area of sports and entertainment that students should be recognized, promoted and encouraged, but in areas of religion, arts, cultural values, communication,  social and philanthropic concerns.  Students are entitled to educational opportunities to discover and develop every area of human capacity and value.


6. That students are entitled to the social and vocational benefits of higher education in an inclusive environment.


We declare that the highest quality of education takes place in a society that promotes access and is heterogeneous.  The universities in the Asia Pacific region are in social and ethnic contexts of a rich variety, which in itself is a resource of great potential for student development.  The best education helps students expand their sensitivity and empathy through contact with persons who have physical handicaps and challenges, students from ethnic minorities and marginalized segments of society, and students with particular intellectual abilities.  Students are entitled to education to the fullest extent of their capacities and interests and to inter-relations with the fullest range of persons with other capacities and interests.  We affirm the value of student intercollegiate networks and forums at the local, national and international level in this age of globalization.


7. That athletics is not only an important endeavor in which students can excel, but also a valuable career option for those who are especially gifted, and a basis for the development of professional athletics for the nations.


We declare that the ancient dictum “a sound mind in a sound body” still applies to people of all ages and students in particular.  These days, in addition, professional sports can be a major incentive for students and a source of national pride.  Students are entitled to athletic programs which help them identify outstanding hidden talent.  And students are entitled to healthy recreational options which serve as alternatives to less worthy leisure time activities.  But fully developed programs will require subsidies and involvement from all sectors of government and private enterprise.


8. That Information  and Communication Technology (ICT) is not only a recreational outlet and communication resource for students, but should be integral throughout the students’ entire educational endeavor and is indispensable to every aspect of student services.


Therefore, we declare that students are entitled to opportunities to develop skills in the use and application of ICT in their educational and extra-curricular programs, and that educational institutions and their underwriters should provide ICT resources for the operation of student affairs and services.


9. That standards of good practice for student services should be applied in the management of student affairs.  


Therefore, we declare that student development activities and academic activities should be considered as of equal importance in the organization of students’ total education. 


10. That it is the responsibility of national governments to allocate adequate funds for programs in higher education which directly benefit students.


We declare that students are entitled to sufficient financial security throughout their educational careers to be free to fully apply themselves to their educational undertaking.  Students are also entitled to counseling, medical and psychological support, student self-government, and vocational referral service and advice.  In order to provide these services student services practitioners and administrators need to be equipped with teamwork skills, as well as with social and communication skills to relate to the constantly changing needs and expectations of students.  Therefore, we insist that it is in the best interest of nations to provide funds for student development activities as well as financial aid directly to students from the operating budgets of the governments.   



Consequently, we call upon all sectors of society, including central and local governments, private enterprises, non-governmental organizations, and individuals throughout the Asia Pacific region to fully support student development activities through contributions of all kinds, including monetary, material, moral and manpower support, for the peace and prosperity of the global community.



Endorsed in principles by the Members of the Executive Committee

on 9 July 2004.