SEAMEO Council President visits the Philippines

Indonesia’s Minister of Education and Culture, and concurrently the SEAMEO Council President, HE Prof. Dr. Muhadjir Effendy, was in the Philippines on 14 November 2018 as part of his annual visit to the different SEAMEO member countries. Along with Officials from the Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC) Indonesia, representatives from the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd), and representatives from the SEAMEO Secretariat (SEAMES) headed by its Director, Dr. Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, Dr. Effendy was briefed on the operations, projects, and programs of the three SEAMEO Centers hosted in the country—INNOTECH, TROPMED Philippines, and SEARCA. 

Dr. Ramon C. Bacani, Center Director of SEAMEO INNOTECH, gave a brief overview of the Center’s operations, as well as accomplishment throughout the year, some of which are the 15th International Conference which focused on Inclusive Education, the first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) focusing on teacher motivation, and GURO21 winning the UNESCO Wenhui Awards 2017 on “Innovations in the Professional Development of Teachers”. He also showcased activities and programs which highly involved Indonesia, like the training program on School Leadership, eXCELS courses, Mobile Technology for Teachers (MT4T), Alternative Delivery Modes, and Fit for School. He highlighted that the Center’s success may be attributed to the cooperation of the different government agencies and partner development organizations. 

Prof. Romeo Quizon, Center Director of SEAMEO TROPMED Philippines and Dean of the College of Public Health in the University of the Philippines Manila, highlighted that the Center is committed to developing a more comprehensive school health program for the region in collaboration with the other TROPMED Networks in Malaysia and Thailand. He also shared some of the achievements of the Center within the year, including several community service programs, conferences, workshops, and established network and linkages.  

Dr. Maria Celeste H. Cadiz, Technical Advisor for Knowledge Management of SEAMEO SEARCA, presented on behalf of the Center’s Director. She emphasized that the Center is currently focused on Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural  Development, which are articulated in their core programs. She highlighted some of their accomplishments, like the scholarship they have provided for students, conferences and forums they have mounted, workshops and training they have facilitated, and researches they have published. Dr. Cadiz also showcased the planned Southeast Asian Agrimuseum to be built in Los Baños, Laguna. She further mentioned that SEARCA continues to work closely with government agencies and development institutions in order to further promote the importance of agriculture and inspire stakeholders to help shape the future of agriculture in Southeast Asia.  

Hearing the presentations from the three SEAMEO Centers in the Philippines, Dr. Effendy expressed his gratitude and commended the efforts and strong commitments of each Center. He related the SEAMEO countries and Centers to an orchestra.  

“Like an orchestra that consists of different musical instrument, each instrument is beautiful in its own way. But when all instruments come together, they can present a more powerful performance that moves people,” he said. He called for the need for intensified collaboration among SEAMEO Centers. He added that, as the SEAMEC President, he commits to coordinate with SEAMES and collaborate with the different SEAMEO Centers in carrying out tasks towards the development of education in the region. 

The SEAMEO Council is the highest policy-making body of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO). The Council is composed of the Education Ministers of the SEAMEO member countries. 

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