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.