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.
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.