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.
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.