Recently, there has been much fanfare in the media in Vietnam about the rising position of Vietnamese education in international rankings. The e-newspaper of the Vietnam Association of Colleges and Universities, the VNExpress e-newspaper, the Voice of Vietnam, and many others all point to different sources to testify and document the achievements that Vietnam has made.
Participating for the first time in PISA in 2012, Vietnam’s 15-year-olds performed on par with their peers in world-renowned Germany and Austria (OECD, 2012), and then on par with Australia in 2015 (FactsMaps, 2015). Although an official ranking of Vietnam is yet to be published for 2018, the country test scores were amazingly high.
Fig. 1 PISA score of Vietnamese students and International Average in 2018 (EVBN, 2018)
At the International Mathematics and Science Olympiad (IMSO) 14 in 2017, the Vietnam team of 12 students won 12 medals. Vietnamese students also won gold medals from the World Invention Creativity Olympic taking place in South Korea in 2019.
The Global Innovation Index (GII) had Vietnam at 71, 59, 47, 45, and 42 for 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively. The same index ranked Vietnam at 18 out of 126 countries for 2018 in terms of innovation in education (Global Innovation Index).
Apparently, Vietnamese education is surfacing in the international arena. And yet, behind the scenes there is always the shadow of the trophy: there is only a loose link between education outputs and social demands in Vietnam.
The Report on Vocational Education 2016 by the National Institution for Vocational Education and Training of Vietnam revealed a hard fact: the higher education levels, the higher the rates of unemployment.
Fig. 2: Number of unemployed people aged 15-60 by vocational training background. (National Institution for Vocational Education and Training, 2016)
The Voice of Vietnam e-newspaper remarked that tertiary programmes are not realistic, are heavily test-based, and result in low levels of transfer. Therefore, they are limited in career orientation. (VoV, 2018).
According to the World Bank, the quality of Vietnamese human resources ranks 11th out of 12 surveyed countries in Asia. Of 53.4 million labourers aged 15+, only 49% have had training. This is more evident at advanced levels where there is a bigger lack of skilled workers and technical workers (Tap chi Mat tran 2019).
The mismatch of education outputs and social demands can be attributed to several factors. Among them are heavily-academic programme contents, and misconception of the employment-guaranteeing value of university degrees.
High school and university curricula still rely heavily on theoretical lessons and knowledge input, without sufficient practical working knowledge or skills, placing knowledge before competence. In this model, knowledge is both the input of the education training process and the expected output.
Classes, whether at high schools or higher education institutions, are in most places conducted in the traditional way with the teacher as the preacher imparting knowledge to the students. Twenty-first century skills are thus mostly neglected. Decision-making is lacking. Problem-solving is not taught, experienced or trained for. People-skills are not practised. Little is known of global citizenship.
Most of what students are expected to do is absorb the knowledge from the teacher, recite what has been taught, and do exercises that have little real-life value. Higher education programmes are loosely connected to the actual demands of the society. According to Professor Le Huu Lap, this is due to the weak connection between colleges, universities and business entities. This has led to two parallel lines of movement, with higher education institutions on one track, and the business sector on the other. They both advance, but do not seem to meet each other.
The second factor is the over-emphasis on the value of a university degree. In the belief that this is the passport to a good job, perceived generally as one that brings a high
salary, coupled with the hope that their children will become leaders, not workers, parents push their children to the limit to gain access to higher education. This has resulted in an imbalance of demand and supply where a lack of technical workers and skilled workers prevails in the industry, and a surplus of university graduates look for jobs. As a result, many have to content themselves with a job totally unrelated to their degree major.
However, a paradigm shift is already taking place.
In November 2013, the Communist Party of Vietnam released the Resolution "On fundamental and comprehensive renovation of education and training" to meet the demands of developing high-quality human resources, building a knowledge economy in the process of industrialization and modernization, and the development of a socialist-oriented market economy and international integration.
To realise this ambition, Vietnam has reserved the quite high portion of over 20% of the national budget for education. In terms of GDP and education, the expenditure-to-GDP ratio topped ASEAN member countries in three successive years from 2017 to 2019, spending 5.7% of its GDP for education (Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO, 2017, 2018, 2019).
Since the release of the Resolution, efforts have been made at national, provincial and local levels to implement it. Radical schools in cities and major provincial places of the country have been experimenting with task-based lessons, theme-based workshops, and problem-solving activities, with promising results to date.
Starting in 2020, the country is going to implement the new primary and secondary education curriculum, which is intended to help develop students' ability to solve problems and achieve task objectives via theme-based activities that put knowledge into practice. Several universities have taken into consideration social demands in developing their programmes.
The country is undergoing an education renovation towards a more open system of education where transferability between formal and continuing education is made possible. In the wake of the surplus of academic graduates, it is promoting a paradigm shift from academic dominance to vocational prevalence, flipping the current 70/30 ratio of academic to professional-vocational student bodies for an expected 30/70 ratio.
To conclude, it is worth quoting Jean Piaget, "The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing NEW [emphasis added] things, not simply repeating what other generations have done". Similarly, William Arthur Ward said that "Teaching is more than imparting knowledge, it is inspiring change. Learning is more than absorbing facts, it is acquiring understanding." In light of these statements, Vietnam appears to be moving in the right direction.
Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO. (2017). The Global Innovation Index 2017: Innovation Feeding the World, Ithaca, Fontainebleau, and Geneva. https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_gii_2017.pdf.
Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO. (2018). The Global Innovation Index 2018: Energizing the World with Innovation. Ithaca, Fontainebleau, and Geneva. https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_gii_2018.pdf.
Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO. (2019). The Global Innovation Index 2019: Creating Healthy Lives—The Future of Medical Innovation, Ithaca, Fontainebleau, and Geneva. https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_gii_2019.pdf.
EVBN. (2018). Education in Vietnam. Research report. http://www.ukabc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/EVBN-Report-Education-Final-Report.pdf
FactsMaps. (2015). PISA 2015 Worldwide Ranking – average score of math, science and reading. http://factsmaps.com/pisa-worldwide-ranking-average-score-of-math-science-reading/)
Global Innovation Index. Available at: https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/home.
Le Huu Lap. (2018). "Đào tạo nguồn nhân lực: Lạc điệu xa rời thực tiễn". https://saigondautu.com.vn/kinh-te/dao-tao-nguon-nhan-luc-lac-dieu-xa-roi-thuc-tien-53926.html.
National Institution for Vocational Education and Training. (2016). National Report on Vocational Education and Training. Youth Publishing House. Hanoi.
OECD. (2012). PISA 2012 Results in Focus. What 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know. Tap chi Mat tran. (2019). Thúc đẩy liên kết trường đại học và doanh nghiệp ở nước ta trước bối cảnh cách mạng công nghiệp lần thứ tư. http://tapchimattran.vn/thuc-tien/thuc-day-lien-ket-truong-dai-hoc-va-doanh-nghiep-o-nuoc-ta-truoc-boi-canh-cach-mang-cong-nghiep-lan-thu-tu-22218.html.
VoV. (2018). Đào tạo đại học còn xa thực tế. https://vov.vn/xa-hoi/giao-duc/dao-tao-dai-hoc-con-xa-thuc-te-nang-ne-thi-cu-814447.vov.
KHAU HUU PHUOC firstname.lastname@example.org
It is human psychology that the older one is and the more one has witnessed, the more cautious one is in a new situation and naturally the higher the fear one has.
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has recently sparked such a nightmare in the minds of most people around Asia and beyond the continent. These days, people, save children, will wake up in the morning, turn on the TV, and swipe open the smart phone in search of news of the development of the epidemic. People go to work. What do they talk about at work, during tea break, lunch time? As is expected, COVID-19.
A child is born without much of the knowledge adults have, with no experience of mishaps that adults have gone through, and thus is unaware of what consequences may come in an event. Adults are not just “older and bigger” children. They have different mindsets. They each have a stock of cause-effect sequences, one leading to the next, which in turn results in another, as if there is a chain connecting all together to finally bring a disastrious ending.
It is natural that such an “informed” fear triggers a chain of reactions. Seeing scenes of locked-down zones in disease-stricken countries, where all movement is restricted, where people are advised or obliged to stay indoors, and where a trip to the supermarket is banned, people in other places and countries flock to supermarkets to hoard supplies of food, and necessities, not even sparing toilet paper in anticipation of the worst to come. Adults are quick to learn from their past experience that something horrendous is coming. They envision all sorts of life-threatening factors and come to the conclusion that the world may come to an end.
Such shopping sprees can be seen on the media, depicting Hongkong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and even as far away from the original epicenter Wuhan as California in the US.
Such a scene was seen in Hanoi, Vietnam on the night of March 2 2020. But it was gone as quickly as it came. What happened then?
On the evening of March 7, the Government and media gave news of a Vietnamese returning from a trip to Italy, England and France. She showed signs of the sickness and was soon tested for the suspected disease. The result was positive.
As soon as people heard the news, they did what people in other countries had done: rush to the supermarket and begin collecting things for future use. A panicking experience was about to explode.
The next day, things returned to normal, except that streets were quieter, with fewer people moving around. Had there been any media announcement that the information was wrong? Had the Government declared that the patient had flu, not the dreaded sister of it? No. There were even more confirmed cases announced, but what made this magic shift in attitude of the people and their behaviour was they had learned and understood that the disease was not as terrible as they had thought, as long as they knew how to protect themselves. The Government had done a wonderful job of adult education.
TV programmes showed the deputy Prime Minister chairing a meeting, during which he expressed the nation’s resolution to fight the potential epidemic, quoting the Prime Minister saying “We must fight the disease as we have fought an enemy”. He ordered the Ministry of Health to set up a webpage, giving information on how the disease may be transmitted, how people can prevent infection, how the country government at all levels has prepared for this scenario. Most of all, he made it clear that the Government and the media would be transparent in all matters so that people would know the real situation. He advised that panic would not solve the problem and that people should react knowledgeably. The following days the media informed people that there would be no food and other daily supply shortage because food suppliers and providers of daily consumption things had previously made big stocks in preparaton; instant messages from the Ministry of Health occasionally popped up on smart phones giving updates of the disease.
Isn’t this adult education? If it is, is it effective adult education?
The term “education” is commonly taken to mean imparting knowledge in a formal environment, conducted by a solemn-looking person who is usually referred to with reverence as teacher or master. It came from the long past when children’s learning by playing with and mimicking adults was no longer sufficient to result in outcomes that children would grow up becoming as good at a trade, and knowledgeable in a field as their older people. Adults had to resort to storing knowledge in the form of books and other teaching materials, and educate children in the structured ways that knowledge would be, in educators’ thinking, be best absorbed by learners.
UNESCO has emphasized that though education is an essential requirement for human society to advance, how it is done is of equal importance; and that learning should take place throughout one’s life. According to UNESCO, Lifelong learning is “rooted in the integration of learning and living, covering learning activities for people of all ages (children, young people, adults and the elderly, girls and boys, women and men) in all life-wide contexts (family, school, community, workplace and so on) and through a variety of modalities (formal, non-formal and informal) which together meet a wide range of learning needs and demands. Education systems which promote lifelong learning adopt a holistic and sector-wide approach involving all sub-sectors and levels to ensure the provision of learning opportunities for all individuals."
In light of this definition, a common belief is that education can be done and should also be done outside the formal schooling context. Then it falls into the domain of community learning centres (CLCs). There were over 11.000 CLCs in 2018, one in almost every village and ward (the smallest administration area in cities) across Vietnam. They have played a big role in promoting adult education.
They disseminate practical knowledge of health, farming, technology, and skills of a various trades. They spread government directions and policies. They draw attention to environmental deterioration and raise awareness of environmental preservation. And yet, they are each a distance away from home. To learn, one must get out of the house.
The media, including TV, internet, and radio, are just a click away of the computer mouse, or a slight touch of the phone screen.
Vietnam has utilized the media to its best effect. And media do not just include those. Banners and posters along streets can be succinct lessons for road users. A minute’s stop at a set of traffic lights is enough to learn that washing hands with soap is an effective way to eliminate most bacteria. Eyes roaming along the street while sitting on a bus can take in other lessons that the corona virus does not kill in most cases, that symptoms can be just like a mild cold.Leaflets distributed to households will serve the same educational purpose. There is even an exciting music video clip on YouTube by a Vietnamese music group showing how to stay away from the disease; the clip is now known around the world and is remade by people in different countries.
There is a common saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. When people know more about the disease, about the real situation in the country, and about the method to prevent it, people calm down, and act more sensibly.
The epidemic is still going on, ravaging many parts of the world. The Vietnamese are calmly tackling the problem, fighting the disease with the best knowledge they learn from different sources, among which are the media – a good tool of adult education.
 Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education. Electronic version provided by Pennsylvania State University.
 UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. (n.d.). “Technical Note: Lifelong Learning”. Available at: http://uil.unesco.org/fileadmin/keydocuments/LifelongLearning/en/UNESCOTechNotesLLL.pdf.
 Ministry of Education. (2018). “Current Development of CLCs and Future Direction.” Capacity Building for CLC Management. Internal circulation.
 MOET. (2007). Decision 01/2007/QĐ-BGDĐT. Promulgation of Regulations on Establishment and Operation of Community Learning Centres.
 One such clip can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0MxcBvCoZk. The song advises washing hands, not putting hands to faces, limiting going to crowded places, and keeping environments clean.
From 15 to 18 October 2019, Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) in collaboration with SEAMEO Regional Training Centre (SEAMEO RETRAC) organised the workshop “Fostering Global Citizenship for Sustainable Communities in the Southeast Asia” for 30 local government officials from SEAMEO member countries working in the areas of Global Citizenship Education, sustainable development, community development and other related areas.
The Workshop took place at SEAMEO RETRAC Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, and aimed to equip the participants with knowledge and skills on global citizenship, and explore areas for potential cooperation in and beyond the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Khau Huu Phuoc, SEAMEO CELLL Manager of Research and Training, participated in the workshop and shared opinions by bridging lifelong learning and global citizenship education (GCED), revealing the interconnection while emphasising the ultimate aim of GCED as education for a world of harmony: harmony in living with each other, thus avoiding conflicts, and harmony with nature by reserving the environment - all done for a world of sustainability.
The workshop ended with the participants' initial action plan to ponder on more in depth when they return to their workplaces. SEAMEO CELLL integrates in the action plan its proposed project on building learning societies for 11 SEAMEO member countries.
From 4 to 6 September, the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) in collaboration with the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association (DVVI) organised the capacity building workshop on Advocacy for Adult Learning and Education (ALE) in Bangkok, Thailand. Attending the event were representatives from 25 national and international organisations and offices, among which were UNESCO Bangkok, DVVI Regional Office for Southeast Asia, Office of the Non-formal and Informal Education of Thailand, and SEAMEO.
Mr Johann Heilmann, Regional Director of DVVI Office for Southeast Asia re-confirmed the close and growing long-established cooperation between DVVI and ASPBAE in actively advancing ALE. Ms Maria Lourdes Almazan Khan, Secretary General, ASPBAE, briefed on the context of ALE within the framework of lifelong learning and SDGs, and ASPBAE's determination to involve civil society organisations in this effort. Mr Khau Huu Phuoc, Manager of Research and Training, SEAMEO CELLL, presented on policy frameworks on lifelong learning in Southeast Asia (SEA), pointing out the absence of ALE in all current education laws of the 11 SEA countries. Mr Ichiro Miyazawa, Programme Specialist in Literacy and Lifelong Learning, UNESCO Bangkok, talked about ALE in the world of work and life, stressing the importance of work-life balance, and the happiness resulting from working with a goal, not just an immediate purpose of earning money.
The workshop aimed to build a shared analysis on ALE, understand main arguments on the importance of ALE and agree on core policy recommendations which call for advocacy for ALE at national and regional levels, specifically in SDG 4.4 and 4.6. The workshop was also intended to provide thought inputs for the 5th Asia Pacific Meeting on Education 2030 (APMED 5) to be held in early October this year. In a situation where ALE is considered "nice to have" but quite low on the education agenda, ASPBAE finds itself responsible for reviving ALE through different means and modes so that ALE can receive the attention it deserves for the realisation of SDGs. This workshop ended on 6 September with key advocacies to be considered for the agenda of APMED 5.
Schools and the quality of education in rural areas is generally poor and compounded by numerous factors such as remoteness, poor infrastructure and services, low household and community income, low human capacity and in the case of border communities, cross-border migration. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that significant attention be paid to actively improve and enhance the quality of education and health in rural communities in order to achieve the SDGs.
In this regard, SEAMEO Regional Centre for Community Education Development (SEAMEO CED) has launched the Border Schools Project which aims to enhance teaching capacity of primary and secondary school’s teachers in the borderland of SEAMEO Member Countries, strengthen the capacity of schools’ administrators in education development and the management of schools, strengthening the capacity of the community and community leaders in monitoring and evaluation of schools’ development and promote collaboration between SEAMEO Centres.
From 29 to 30 August 2019, an international seminar on education for rural community was held in Luang Prabang Province, Lao PDR. The seminar was attended by government officials of education, researchers and practitioners from Brunei, Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It focused on updating the current outcomes of the Border Schools Project, informing and seeking feedback on the new initiative on enhancing community partnerships in education development. It also aimed at exchanging knowledge about innovative approaches of non-formal education for ethnic groups in Mekong sub-region.
Representing SEAMEO Regional Centre for Lifelong Learning (SEAMEO CELLL), Ms Tien Tran, Programme Officer, Reasearch and Training Department, contributed to the seminar with the findings from the centre's most recent research on indigenous education in Vietnam, within the framework of the project Lifelong learning for ethnic groups in the Greater Mekong Sub-region: Towards culturally responsive development. This project was initiated by UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Development (UNESCO INRULED) and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL).
The presentation focused on the interventions of Vietnamese government to promote education for ethnic minorities as a key to eradicate poverty. It also provided a case study on a CLC in Ha Giang Province, a mountainous province in the far north of Vietnam with 277km border with China. This CLC was chosen for study due to its innovative approaches to governance, financing and conducting programmes.
The seminar concluded with a discussion on the definition and scope of community education, from which SEAMEO CED will base its future research and training projects on. A field trip to Thapho village, a rural community, was also conducted to give insight to participants on how a CLC in remote area of Lao PDR was successful in helping its inhabitants improve their livelihood.
Adult Learning and Education (ALE) can look back to a long history. It was a part of ancient cultures, from China to Rome. Thinkers of all times were aware that learning should not stop at an early stage, but learning is an integral part of life. “Once you stop learning, you start dying”, the great Einstein said.
The 20th Century was the glorious time of the adult education movement, with campaigns eliminating illiteracy in China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Turkey, Yugoslavia and several other countries. The CONFINTEA was established as a series of high-level conferences in 1949. In 2015, the Recommendations on Adult Learning and Education (RALE) were adopted by the 38th UNESCO General Conference. ALE was widely recognized as an integral condition for human development, well-being and democracy.
In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals and the education 2015 opened a new opportunity for ALE. Although not mentioned explicitly, it was considered as an integral part of the Lifelong Learning framework, which was declared to be the guiding concept for the education sector.
On 05-06 June 2019 the conference "Rethinking ALE – Asian Perspectives" was hosted by DVV International to explore the opportunities for ALE in the 21st century and reflect on the changes and innovations the concept needs to be understood and adopted by key stakeholders as well as by the people and the communities. Mr Mai Hong Quan, SEAMEO CELLL Deputy Manager of Research and Training was invited to joined nearly 50 ALE and LLL experts and officials from countries of Lao PDR, Cambodia, and organisations & institutions such as ASPBAE, DVV International, PRIA, SEAMEO Secretariat, UNESCO Bangkok in the two-day event in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
The first day of the event was for thematic field trips in which participants were divided into three groups to visit: a CLC and a non-formal education development centre (Theme 1: The NFE system in Lao PDR); Faculty of Education, National University of Laos and SEAMEO CED (Theme 2: Training and research for NFE); and Lao Youth Union Training Center and Non-profit Association (Theme 3: Youth work). The second day, which was the main conference day, witnessed a series of interesting presentations by various keynote speakers of ALE and LLL. After lunchtime, the three themes of the previous day continued by the participants being divided into three groups where they attended detailed reports and sharing experience and good practices, followed by each group suggesting and presenting three recommendations to the conference. SEAMEO CELLL's delegate took part in Theme 1 and shared the video clip about Xuat Hoa CLC in Hoa Binh province, Vietnam to illustrate a successful practice of CLC as a fundamental institution for ALE and LLL.
The conference concluded with a plenary panel discussion by Dr Johann Heilmann - DVV International: DVV South and Southeast Asia’s Regional Director, Assoc Prof Roberto Guevara - ICAE and RMIT Melbourne, Assoc Prof Suwithida Charungkaittikul - Chulalongkorn University, Dr Ethel Agnes Valenzuela - SEAMEO Secretariat director, and Dr Sunok Jo - NILE Korea. Afterwards, all delegates were invited to join a reception where the staff of DVV International Regional Office South-East Asia in Lao PDR paid tribute and said goodbye to Mr Uwe Gartenschlaeger and welcomed Dr Johann Heilmann as the new DVV International Regional Director.
May SEAMEO CELLL take this opportunity to sincerely thank Mr Uwe Gartenschlaeger for his continued invaluable support to SEAMEO CELLL during his tenure of office, and we wish him tons of happiness and success in the years ahead.
SEAMEO CELLL would also like to warmly congratulate Dr Johann Heilmann on his new position and we really look forward to having even stronger connection and cooperation with DVV International in your directorship.
SEAMEO CELLL ATTENDED REGIONAL WORKSHOP "SOUTHEAST ASIA TEACHERS COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK, TEACHERS’ SATISFACTION AND MOTIVATION"
SEA-TCF was developed by the Teachers’ Council of Thailand (TCT), in partnership with the SEAMEO Secretariat (SEAMES) and the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH). It is intended to be a reference framework for pre-service teacher education, recruitment and selection, in-service training and continuing professional development for teachers in Southeast Asia. In August 2018, the SEAMEO Council approved the Southeast Asia Teachers Competency Framework (SEA-TCF) to be used for teachers in the region.
The workshop listened to a body of country presentations sharing their policy-supported teachers' competencies framework implementation in relation to the SEA-TCF. Discussion of factors contributing to teachers' satisfaction and motivation was conducted on day two of the workshop. Mr Khau Huu Phuoc, Manager of SEAMEO CELLL Research and Training Department, provided input on the role of lifelong learning in ensuring motivation in the teaching profession.
The workshop concluded with a summary of key points of the content, delivered by Dr Ethel, and the closing remark by Dr Ho Thanh My Phuong in which she thanked the participants for their contributions, especially the valued comments on key factors that enhance teachers' satisfaction and motivation that feed into the study currently conducted by SEAMEO RETRAC.
Lifelong learning promotion is on the agenda of many countries to meet with the rising need of constant learning and keeping up with changes and development to improve life. A core component of lifelong learning is adult learning and education (ALE), whereby working adults see a huge demand for learning so they can cope with a myriad of issues in the modern world, ranging from personal matters to vocational trajectories and world issues.
Although the concept of ALE is widely known in many developed countries, it has yet to receive an official status in the legal framework of several Southeast Asian countries. In this regards, DVV International Regional Office has introduced a research project with an aim to review ALE in five areas of action, namely policy, governance, financing, participation- inclusion - equity, and quality.
This research project is joined by focal point institutions from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam. Together with Royal University of Phnom Penh, National University of Laos, Chulalongkorn University in the other countries, SEAMEO CELLL will conduct a desk study to review the current situation of ALE in Vietnam. Projected findings may include the role of ALE in promoting lifelong learning and the gap between policy and demands. The study in Vietnam will be led by Mr Khau Huu Phuoc, Manager of Research and Training Department, who has intense experience in carrying out research on lifelong learning.
On March 4-5, 2019, an inception meeting took place at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand) in order to draw out the conceptual framework for the project. Inputs from participating researchers were collected and the framework was agreed upon. The research project has been officially kicked off and country papers are expected to accomplish this August for peer-review and systhesis.
As part of the research project Lifelong learning for ethnic groups in the Greater Mekong Sub-region: Towards culturally responsive development, an expert meeting was organised at the end of January, 2019 at Mahidol University, Thailand.
The research project is led by UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED) and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) with the participation of five focal point institutions from five countries, namely Department of Non-formal Education, Cambodia; Yunnan Normal University, China; SEAMEO CED, Lao PDR; RILCA, Thailand; and SEAMEO CELLL, Vietnam. The expected outcomes of this project are five country reports and a synthesis report on government interventions to promote education for ethnic groups, from which policy and practice recommendations as well as lesson sharing can be employed to better educational conditions for such disadvantaged groups.
In the expert meeting, focal point institutions were supposed to present the progress of their country reports and challenges that they encountered during researching. Professor Colman Ross, project consultant, together with experienced researchers in the field of ethnic education, provided feedback and suggestions to improve the quality of the country reports. The meeting was productive and of necessity for ensuring all country reports following proper research methodology and aligning with the ultimate goal of the project.
Also on this occasion, the hosting institution organised a field trip to Thai Bueng Cultural Tourism Community. Experts and researchers had a chance to witness the full and happy daily life of an examplary ethnic group in Thailand as well as interview the community leader for an in-depth understanding of such successful operations.
The international seminar concluded fruitfully in terms of both academic knowledge and real-life experience.
On 28 and 29 January 2019, SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA) Thailand in collaboration with SEAMEO Regional Centre for Vocational Training (VOCTECH) BRUNEI Darussalam organised the consultative meeting for their project School-Based Approach in Promoting Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage in Bendar Seri Begwan, Brunei. Ideas for the project sparked in the Youth Leadership Forum in 2016, when concern over the threat of fire to Kampong Ayer was raised. Since then, SEAMEO SPAFA has been contemplating on "Conservation in the Tropics" with case studies of places in various countries, one of which is Brunei Darussalem.
The meeting witnessed the participation of Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Brunei Darussalam Peter Wolff, SEAMEO CELLL, SEAMEO CHAT, SEAMEO INNOTECH, SEAMEO SPAFA, SEAMEO VOCTECH, Universiti of Brunei, ICCROM, R-DMuch, KMITL. A thick body of reports on initiatives on ways to integrate knowledge of nature and human-induced disasters were shared for comments. Mr Khau Huu Phuoc, Manager of SEAMEO CELLL Research and Training Department, contributed his knowledge in an panel discussion on the role of lifelong learning in maintaining cultural heritage.
The meeting featured a site visit to the cultural heritage Kampong Ayer, a water village with a history of over 1,000 years in the capital of Brunei. The village has been shrinking over the past decade due to various reasons, to name a few, sub-standard living conditions, lure of jobs in companies, migration, marriage to people outside the community, and the threat of disasters. If the village is to be sustainable, measures will have to be taken, and this must be done soon. Besides Kampong Ayer, the participants also visited Awang Semaun Secondary School, where environment-awareness raising activities are promoted among students.
The project School-Based Approach in Promoting Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage is in line with SEAMEO Seven Priority Areas (2015-2035), particularly Priority Area 3 on resiliency in the face of emergencies. It aims to initiate ways to engage school children, teachers and staff, parents and communities in reducing the impact of disaster on their cultural heritage.
SEAMEO CELLL ATTEND CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOPS ON MEASURING IN ADULT LEARNING AND EDUCATION, AND LIFELONG LEARNING
Between 17 December and 28 December 2018, Vietnam Institute of Education Sciences (VNIES) twice organised a capacity building workshop on Methods of identifying, measuring, and analysing basic indicators in aldult learning & education (ALE) and lifelong learning (LLL) for two cohorts.
The workshops were taught by Prof Dr Aaron Benavot, an expert in the field from the University of Albany, as part of a Fulbright Scholar Programme. They aimed to provide and enhance research and management skills for officials working in adult learning and education, continuing education, and lifelong learning. They also offered opportunities for the participants to share related information, and experience.
A total of nearly 40 specialists, and officials from VNIES itself, Continuing Education Centres, Education Institutes in Da Nang, Ha Giang, as welll as UNESCO Hanoi and SEAMEO CELLL attended the two workshops.
During the workshops, Prof Dr Benavot not only imparted practical knowledge of developing indicators and measures for ALE and LLL, but also shared and initiated sharing of information and concept of LLL as is understood and implemented around the world. A range of ideas and experience in ALE and LLL were put forth for analysis, and evaluation, serving as an additional foundation for application of the knowledge and skills learned. Besides the main learning outcomes, the participants also benefited from the establishment of new networks, which promised effective colaborations in the future.
The workshops concluded with the awards of certificate of completion. Dr Nguyen Duc Minh, Deputy Director of VNIES, expressed his sincere appreciation for Prof Dr Aaron Benavot's professional support and complimented the participants on their serious efforts during the workshops.
These workshops were initial steps that potentially marked long-term collaboration between the VNIES and the University of Albany, and hinted continued valued support of Prof Dr Aaron Benavot personally.
From 6-8 December 2018, the Ministry of Education and Training organised a training workshop in Ho Chi Minh for nearly 90 CLC management and continuing education officials from South Vietnam. The workshop focused on good operation and management practices that can be shared and learned for improved programmes and activities.
Mr Nguyen Cong Hinh, Director of Department of Continuing Education, began the workshop with an inspiring talk on challenges that many CLCs are facing and directions for development of CLCs, illustrated with examples of localities where CLC activities are either flourishing or declining. All in all, it is dedication that is key to these successes, and management should be versatile in mobilising different social resources for education and learning of local people.
The workshop benefited from five thematic presentations delivered by representatives from Department of Continuing Education, Vietnam Association for Learning Promotion, Quang Ninh Department of Education and Training, and SEAMEO CELLL.
Mr Khau Huu Phuoc, SEAMEO CELLL Manager of Research and Training, facilitated the workshop with a keynote speech on lessons learnt from CLC operations in Japan. In his presentation, he emphasised that for a CLC to be beneficial and operationally successful, it must be truly a venue of community activities, not just a place for learning. This was drawn from the model of the Japanese CLC, Kominkan, where people experience a deep sense of community togetherness and knowledge sharing.
Participants of the workshop also shared their concerns about financial support, and low coordination among organisations and institutions, all of which were carefully noted by high officials of Department of Contintuing Education for consideration.
This workshop is one in a series of three conducted in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Hanoi over a period of three weeks with an aim to raise management capacity of officials working in continuing education.
From 27 to 29 November 2018 SEAMEO organised its 41st High Official Meeting. This annual meeting is to review programmes that are in progress or have been achieved by SEAMEO units in the previous year, and to consider proposals of new programmes that involve collaboration on a regional level.
This year's meeting listened to a myriad of papers presented by SEAMEO units presenting or proposing programmes within their specialised scope of work and serving their mission in respond to SEAMEO 7 Priority Areas (2015-2035). In total, there are over 300 programmes/activities that have been done or are in progress so far.
The programmes varied from those more on the academic end of the education provision spectrum like mathematics teaching and learning, through those that focus more on the artistic and cultural aspects like the music competition using mobile application, to those more on the other end of the spectrum: conditions that facilitate the well-being of learners so that they can maximise their learning like programmes for improving nutrition for better performance of school children.
In the presentation on Vietnam's last year's achievements, Dr Phan Dang Hung emphasised that Vietnam had issued the Action Plan for the period of 2016-2020 to implement the scheme Development and Implementation of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community by 2025. The scheme laid out four main tasks in response to SEAMEO 7 Priority Areas.
He also stressed two key advancements in Vietnam education policy development for Priority Ảea 7. First is the soon-to-implement abandonment of the score system in primary school pupils. Pupils are not given scores, but instead receive comments, which reduces much pressure of having the highest score, being the top of the class for the pupils themselves as well as their families. Second is the gradual shift from the content approach to the qualitative approach to better cater for the demand for human resources development.
The meeting concluded with the review and adoption of the 41st HOM proceedings, and set the dates for the next meeting which is 26-28 November 2019.
A consultation meeting was organised by the Department of Continuing Education, Ministry of Education and Training, in Ho Chi Minh city on 26 November 2018. Previously, a meeting of the kind was held in Hanoi. Both meetings aimed to collect comments for revision and finalisation of the draft Assessment Criteria for Learning Units at Ministerial Organisations, Provincial and District Administrative Organisations, and the equivalent.
The Ho Chi Minh City meeting was attended by representatives from the Department of Continuing Education, Provincial People's Committees in south Vietnam, Association of Learning Promotion (central and provincial), and SEAMEO Regional Centre for Lifelong Learning.
The set of criteria is an attempt to build a comprehensive overarching group of criteria sets for assessment of different learning entities, including learning families, learning clans, learning communities, ... for the development of a learning society in Vietnam.
At the meeting, the criteria were closely reviewed and multiple justifiable opinions were given for the improvement of the draft.
In the end, Mr Phan Dang Hung, Chief of Programming Department, Vietnam Association for Learning Promotion, wrapped up the meeting by addressing major issues raised by the participants and re-emphasised the logical structure of the set of criteria. He added that learning and education is a tool for poverty elimination, thus the need for learning society.
Concluding the meeting, Mr Nguyen Cong Hinh, Director of Department of Continuing Education, commented on the future direction of lifelong learning outcome assessment. He maintained that assessment will develop in ways that it measures what one can do, i.e. capability not what certificates one has so that it will truly tally with the concept of lifelong learning, which encompasses all forms of learning, in Vietnam.
CAPACITY-BUILDING WORKSHOP ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION SYSTEMS ORIENTED TOWARDS LIFELONG LEARNING
From 18 October to 2 November 2018, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in collaboration with Shanghai Open University and East China Normal University organised the capacity-building workshop on Development of Education Systems Oriented Towards Lifelong Learning in Shanghai. Participation in the workshop included delegations from four selected countries from Africa and Asia. The Vietnam team consists of officials and experts from the Department of Continuing Education of the Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Labour, Invalid, and Social Affairs, Hanoi Open University, Vietnam Institute of Education Science, Departments of Education and Training, and SEAMEO Regional Centre for Lifelong Learning based in Vietnam.
The goal of the workshop is to increase the capacity of the participants for the development of education systems oriented towards lifelong learning. More specifically, the objectives of the workshop are to:
As an outcome of the workshop, the Vietnam team prepared a recommendation on lifelong learning to submit to the Ministry of Education and Training towards the end of 2018. It consolidates the knowledge learned from the workshop and deep reflection on and review of the current context of lifelong learning in Vietnam, and fuses them into major areas of action, policies and legislation, governance, and awareness raising, to be considered by the Ministry for lifelong learning promotion.
Considering the fact that Vietnam is in the second phase (2012-2020) of building a learning society in the country, the recommendation will contribute as one core component of implementation for the success of this project.
OFFICIAL VISIT OF SEAMEO COUNCIL PRESIDENT AND THE ACTIVATION CEREMONY OF THE ONLINE ELECTRONIC RESOURCE SYSTEM
On 22-25 July 2018, HE Prof Dr Muhadjir Effendy, Minister of Education and Culture, Indonesia and concurrently SEAMEO Council President travelled to Vietnam in one of his visits to SEAMEO Member Countries during his tenure. Accompanying the Minister were high officials from the Ministry of Education and Culture, Indonesia, Dr Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, SEAMEO Secretariat Director, and SEAMEO Secretariat officials. On the working visit to Vietnam this time, the Minister met with HE Prof Dr Phung Xuan Nha, Minister of Education and Training, Vietnam; also, as the incumbent SEAMEO Council President, the Minister of Education and Culture, Indonesia paid a visit to SEAMEO Regional Centre for Lifelong Learning (SEAMEO CELLL) and SEAMEO Regional Training Centre (SEAMEO RETRAC) at their offices based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
During the presidential visit to SEAMEO CELLL, the Centre Director briefed SEAMEO Council President on the Centre’s activities during the past few years as well as its strategic directions for development in the upcoming period.
This occasion also marked the activation ceremony of the e-resource on LLL honourably launched by the Minister. The Minister officially activated the e-resource system at the address www.elib-SEAportal.org.
The online portal www.SEA-LLLportal.org comprising the e-resource system is one of the main components of the project: “Towards a lifelong learning agenda in Southeast Asian countries” which is implemented by SEAMEO CELLL and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) with the purpose of supporting SEAMEO countries in developing and
implementing holistic and comprehensive lifelong learning approaches that link different sectors and forms of learning. The two-phase project was funded by UIL with 100,000 Euros for each phase to be implemented from 2016 to 2018 with strong participation of 11 Ministries of Education in Southeast Asian countries and concurrently SEAMEO Member Countries.
To promote education for all while ensuring both equity and quality, SEAMEO countries should define their vision of lifelong learning and learn from one another with regard to policies and good practices. In this connection, it is regarded essential to establish a channel of information wherein articles, studies, reports and statistics concerning the field of lifelong learning are collected and disseminated among SEAMEO countries. This online portal serves as a hub for exchanging information, policies and good practices in lifelong learning in the region. The e-resource system in this portal is also expected to facilitate easier and more convenient access to these lifelong learning documents. Currently, there are over 700 documents classified into main subjects in lifelong learning; the resources will be continuously developed and updated by ASEAN countries and SEAMEO member countries.
From 17 to 19 July 2018, SEAMEO Secretariat organised the 2018 Centre Director Meeting (CDM) at Arnoma Hotel, Bangkok. A total of 92 participants from 26 specialist institutions of SEAMEO and SEAMEO Secretariat reviewed the activities accomplished in FY 2017/18, considered 15 proposals and project updates from the centres. The proposals from different centres reflected their commitment to contributing to education and learning in various ways within the expertise of the individual centres, serving to accomplish the SEAMEO seven priority areas for 2015-2015 and contributing to the achievement of SDG4.
Most of the programmes that were carried out or will be implemented aim to enhance learning by improving teaching and learning techniques and caring for health. Key issues arising from the discussion were increasing access to and enhancing quality of education, and promoting Global Citizenship Education (GCED) to meet the new period when a sense of belonging to a common humanity is needed for a culture of peace.
Of special interest is the APCEIU publication Global Citizenship Education: A Guide for Policymakers developed to assist UNESCO Member States to strengthen GCED in national education policies, strategies and plans in order to achieve SDG Target 4.7, in particular.
During the three days meeting, the participants brought in a considerable number of ideas and constructive suggestions to enhance feasibility and success of the activities.
The second day of the programme was devoted to networking with affiliate members and partners. These were fourteen prestigious organisations and institutions in education, namely:
The networking proved productive with new potential partnership established and a whole array of collaborative activities agreed on between centres and partners, and among centres, promising a busy year of educational activities for the region.
SEAMEO CDM is an annual meeting where SEAMEO Secretariat, centre directors and professional personnel review past activities and propose new programmes for endorsement. It is also an opportunity to discuss new collaborative projects among centres and partners that help fulfill SEAMEO mission and realise its vision of a leading organisation fostering understanding and cooperation in education, science and culture for a better quality of life in Southeast Asia. The next meeting is scheduled for 9-11 July 2019.
SEAMEO CELLL ATTENDED THE 3RD INTERMEDIATE SENIOR OFFICIALS MEETING (ISOM) ASIA-EUROPE MEETING (ASEM) IN JAKARTA, INDONESIA
.From 3 to 5 June 2018, the 3rd Intermediate Senior Officials Meeting (ISOM) Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) took place with almost 150 participants from Europe and Asia: senior officials, stakeholders and rectors of Indonesian universities. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (MORTHE) of Indonesia in Fairmont hotel in Jakarta. Mr Mai Hong Quan was designated to attend the meeting on behalf of SEAMEO CELLL as a delegate of the stakeholders.
For the plenary morning session, external experts, partners and stakeholders were invited to provide the participants with more insights in different topics under the four ASEM Education priority areas (‘Quality Assurance & Recognition’, ‘Balanced Mobility’, ‘Engaging Businesses and Industries in Education’ and ‘Lifelong Learning Including TVET’), each starting from their specific expertise and experience. The aim of these presentations was to provide participants 'food for discussion' for the thematic afternoon workshops to explore common challenges, ambitions and aspirations for future collaboration.
In the afternoon, all participants were actively engaged in 2 workshops on the four ASEM Education priority areas. In both workshops, the experts from the morning session participated as panelists.
The outcomes and conclusions of both workshops were presented on the 2nd day in the morning. The plenary session also provided room to discuss further on content (based on the feedback of the workshop) as well as operational procedures for future meetings, initiatives.
The meeting was successfully concluded on 05 June.
THAILAND CONSULTATION FORUM: THE IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICY AND STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING THE LEARNING CITIES INTO PRACTICE
On 17-18 May 2018, the Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education (ONIE), Ministry of Education, Thailand organised the Consultation Forum: The Implementation of Policy and Strategies for Building the Learning Cities into Practice at the Royal City Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
SEAMEO CELLL ATTENDED EXPERT MEETING ON INNOVATING ADULT AND COMMUNITY LEARNING IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
On 23-24 April 2018, UNESCO Bangkok with the support of Japan-funds-in-trust organised the 2018 Expert Meeting on Innovating Adult and Community Learning in Asia and the Pacific. The meeting aimed to obtain inputs for the production of a series of UNESCO Bangkok learning videos that will serve to enhance capacity of educators, practitioners of adult learning and CLC management within the scope of the project "Development of Online Learning Contents for Community Learning Centres."
The meeting was held in UNESCO Bangkok office. It gathered 30 experts, and educators in the field of lifelong learning from ten countries in the regionand international organisations (ASPBAE, DVV International, SEAMEO, SEAMEO CELLL, and UNESCO offices). Ten key areas of adult learning and community learning centres were identified and discussed thoroughly. An array of inputs were made from examination of the topics from different perspectives to finally produce lists of subject matters to be included in the video contents.
The video series when available will be disseminated in various ways to bring about positive direct impacts in capacity development of the region’s adult learning and community learning practitioners and indirectly benefit learners.
SEAMEO CELLL representative participated in the event and facilitated several discussion sessions. The Centre will consider using the outcome of the meeting in its future workshops as well as recommending it at other workshops and policy meetings in Vietnam for the development of CLCs towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On 19-20 April 2018, the Policy Forum on Building Lifelong Learning Models was organised in Hanoi City, Vietnam by the Ministry of Education and Training and Hanoi Open University with the participation of 130 participants from education sector and relevant stakeholders.
The Forum listened to informative presentations focusing on the development of a learning society in Vietnam as well as the roles of training institutions on the path towards building learning cities. The forum was also honoured to receive practical experiences from other countries shared by the respective keynote speakers from Cambodia, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand. The presentations captured special attention from the audience and stimulated lively discussions on how to build learning cities and adapt good lifelong learning practices to Vietnam’s current political, social and economic background. (The speakers from Korea and the Philippines responded to the audience’s enquiries through the online video conference platform hosted by Hanoi Open University.)
Ms Vu Lan Chi, SEAMEO CELLL representative introduced to the forum the regional project Towards a lifelong learning agenda in Southeast Asian countries, implemented by SEAMEO CELLL in partnership with UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) as a supportive undertaking to building learning cities. One of its major output: the SEA Lifelong learning online portal, which includes the E-resource database featuring documents on lifelong learning in the region, is expected to facilitate the process of building models of learning society as the foundation for building learning cities in Vietnam.
The forum proposed recommendations on the formulation of policies and plans for the development of learning cities and learning units in Vietnam. Vietnam policy forum was one in a chain of policy forums in Southeast Asian countries conducted within the framework of the said regional project. Up to this date, four policy forums were successfully conducted in Lao PDR (August 2017), Cambodia (November 2017), Indonesia (December 2017) and Vietnam (April 2018).
PREPARATORY DISCUSSION ON URBAN AGRICULTURE TRAINING FOR CLC EDUCATORS AND SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS IN VIETNAM
Ha Noi - On 25 December, 2017, the Department of Continuing Education, Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam organised the seminar "Improving the Performance of Community Learning Centres (CLCs)". The aim of this seminar is to provide policy markers, educators, and CLC managers with a chance to discuss the operation of 11,057 CLCs nationwide as well as learn from other CLC models in neighbouring countries, thus finding solutions to further enhance and develop CLCs in Vietnam.
Taking part in the seminar were 80 participants, including the Directorate and Staff members of the Department of Continuing Education, representatives of the central Vietnam Association for Learning Promotion (VALP), the Centre for Non-formal Education (The Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences - VNIES), SEAMEO CELLL, and representatives of provincial Departments of Education and Training, provincial Sections of Continuing Education, provincial VALP, local CLCs.
The seminar was chaired by Mr Nguyen Cong Hinh - Director General of the Department of Continuing Education. After a speech by Prof Dr Pham Tat Dong - Vice President concurrently the Secretary of VALP in which he emphasised the important role of CLCs in the national education system , SEAMEO CELLL was invited to deliver a presentation about the models of CLCs in the countries of Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand to provide the participants with an overview of CLCs in the region. Based on those models, SEAMEO CELLL also made suggestions on ensuring the sustainable development of CLCs in Vietnam. A subsequent highlight of the event was a discussion where good practices, wholehearted comments and suggestions were shared by the participating managers and educators from the provinces and all opinions were greatly appreciated and carefully taken note of by the organisers.
The one-day seminar concluded with a closing remark by the chairman, in which he sincerely thanked all the participants for their attention and opinions in the event and also for their great effort in bringing education through CLCs to the people.
SEAMEO CELLL TOOK PART IN INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR ON EDUCATION FOR RURAL TRANSFORMATION IN KUNMING, CHINA
In May 2015, the World Education Forum held in Incheon adopted the Framework for Action Education 2030 with an overarching goal of “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning for all by 2030”. Rural education, which remains the weak point, is the indispensable part for the goal realization. In September 2015, the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and rural education as a major component and a key area for policy actions has a close linkage with Goal 4 of SDGs.
Within that scope, UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED), Yunnan Normal University and Yunnan Agricultural University hosted an International Seminar on Education for Rural Transformation in Kunming on 18-22 December, 2017. The seminar brought together 35 education policy-makers, researchers and practitioners from the five Mekong countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) and Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. In the event, the participants made presentations on various aspects of learning & education for the aim of rural development, shared their views in discussion sessions, and paid a visit to two exemplary sites as good examples of rural transformation in China.
Contributing to the seminar, the representative of SEAMEO CELLL shared the good practices and impact of community learning centres (CLCs) in Vietnam, thus highlighting the important role of these centres in sustainable rural transformation. More importantly, a network of partners has been established, which will pave the way for companionship and future collaboration between centres and countries to further benefit education in remote areas in the region.