SDEM discusses post-2015 education agenda
Education ministers and high-level education leaders from 10 member countries of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), convened at the Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel in Vientiane, Lao PDR last 13th of September to discuss the region’s education agenda for the next decade.
The participants of the Strategic Dialogue for Education Ministers (SDEM) discussed issues on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and ASEAN Integration, its gains in Education for All (EFA), Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and other global covenants, gaps, and suggestions for regional actions. Two roundtable discussions were held, built on the presentation of Dr. Sheldon Shaeffer, former Director of the UNESCO Bangkok Office, and covering issues that each of the member countries presented.
The first discussion, facilitated by Br Armin A. Luistro, Secretary of Education of the Philippines, reviewed the achievements, gaps, and possible solutions on current critical issues. Participants shared their thoughts and reflections on their journey to achieve EFA. The second one, facilitated by Pehin Abu Bakar Apong, Minister for Education of Brunei Darussalam, discussed the emerging trends, drivers, and unmet challenges affecting education in Southeast Asia. Representatives from each country discussed a specific pressing issue that their country’s education system experiences. The roundtable discussions also tackled ways to strengthen regional cooperation to implement the future education agenda within the framework of SEAMEO and the ASEAN Community.
Afterwards, a joint statement was drafted and discussed, setting the region’s agenda for education development beyond 2015. It was stated that the cooperation of the countries in the region is the most potent resource available for the Southeast Asian education community. It was suggested that the region have more focused collaboration and interactions in addressing the issues identified in the discussions.
Part of the agenda are promoting Technical and Vocational Education and Training among learners, making teaching a profession of choice, addressing barriers to inclusion and access to basic learning, and developing a more forward-looking, future-oriented, and strategic education systems.
They noted that education reforms should be strategic, comprehensive, across the board, and systematic, while being rooted in the values and traditions of the region. SDEM participants also acknowledged the fact that each country has unique and diverse cultures.
Increasing resiliency was also in the agenda. The participants included the need to build resiliency in times of conflict, extreme weather and disasters among school leaders, teachers, and students as one of the priority issues to be addressed.
The SDEM was the first module and one of the four components of the SEAMEO College, a flagship project of SEAMEO, focusing on education policy. The project is supported by the Asian Development Bank through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. This year’s SDEM is jointly organized by the SEAMEO Secretariat and SEAMEO INNOTECH.