Since its foundation in 1965, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) has sought to promote universal access to quality basic education in Southeast Asia in recognition of the right to education as a universal human right. In 2015, the SEAMEO Council of Ministers reaffirmed SEAMEO’s commitment to addressing barriers to inclusion and access to basic learning opportunities of all learners, as part of its seven strategic priorities for 2015-2035. As a regional Center under the SEAMEO umbrella, SEAMEO INNOTECH has prioritized inclusive quality education as a thematic area of its 9th Five Year Development Plan (2016-2021) guided by its vision of “A Better Future for Every Learner in Southeast Asia”.
In alignment with this vision, the Center spearheaded a regional research on the state of Rights-Based Education (RBE) in Southeast Asia. This study focused on the national laws, policies and guidelines that enable the application of RBE in nine Southeast Asia countries; Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Moreover, this research documented existing education programs and projects implemented by both the government and private agencies, designed to bring to fruition the application of RBE within the Region.
The Center is pleased to report, through this publication, the diverse experiences in implementing rights-based approaches to education in the nine SEAMEO member countries. The report highlights effective RBE policies, practices and innovations as well as identifies areas of policy and practice for further strengthening. The research also explores issues and remaining challenges to fully achieving universal access to quality basic education and proposes recommendations to address these barriers.
We hope that the research report findings inspire all RBE duty bearers (government officials, school administrators, teachers development partners and teachers, among others) to continue their collective efforts to ensure the application and protection of the right of every child to quality and free education throughout Southeast Asia. Through its research studies, capability building programs and knowledge management activities, the Center is one with all the nations in the region in bringing a better future for all learners in Southeast Asia.