Enhancing Sustainable Development in ASEAN: An Integrated Assessment of Education and Health Factors
Purpose: The aim of this paper is to showcase the practical application of the multi-criteria Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) method for expertly assessing the level of sustainable development, education, and health in the countries of Southeast Asia, specifically the ASEAN region, as of 2022. Design/Methodology/Approach: The research methodology is based on the application of the multi-criteria TOPSIS method, which involves the selection of criteria that determine the level of assessment for education and health development. The chosen criteria, including factors such as crude death rate, prevalence of malaria, HIV prevalence rate, and other relevant variables, are subjectively selected to capture the key dimensions of sustainable development in these domains. The data for these criteria are obtained from the ASEAN Statistical Yearbook 2022, providing a reliable and comprehensive source for analysis. The TOPSIS method calculates performance scores for each country, enabling the ranking and clustering of ASEAN countries based on their education and health development. Findings: The findings suggest the presence of disparities among ASEAN countries concerning education and health development. They highlight the importance of prioritizing investments and policies to address the specific challenges faced by lower-performing countries, ultimately fostering sustainable development across the region. In the education sector, countries such as Brunei Darussalam and Singapore emerged as high-performing nations, demonstrating significant advancements in educational indicators. On the other hand, countries like Cambodia and Myanmar were found to have lower performance scores, indicating the need for targeted interventions and improvements in their education systems. Similarly, in the health sector, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore exhibited notable achievements, showcasing robust healthcare systems and favorable health outcomes. Conversely, countries like Cambodia and Myanmar faced significant challenges, reflecting the need for enhanced healthcare infrastructure and interventions to address health disparities. Practical Implications: Firstly, the study provides policymakers and stakeholders in ASEAN countries with valuable insights into the relative performance of education and health development. By identifying high-performing countries, such as Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, as well as lower-performing countries, like Cambodia and Myanmar, policymakers can prioritize and allocate resources to address the specific challenges and disparities within their education and health sectors. Secondly, the methodology employed in this research, specifically the TOPSIS method, offers a practical framework for assessing sustainable development in various domains. This approach can be adapted and applied to other areas beyond education and health, such as ecology, demography, and macroeconomics, allowing for a comprehensive analysis of sustainable development across multiple dimensions. Originality/Value: The study's originality stems from its synthesis of diverse criteria, the identification of clusters among the ASEAN countries, and the implications for policy and decision-making.