SEAMEO maintains its work and aspirations for development with 11 SEAMEO Member Countries to make lives better in quality and equality in education, preventive health education, culture and tradition, information and communication technology, languages, poverty alleviation, and agriculture and natural resources through the SEAMEO 7 Priority Areas including 1) Promoting universal early childhood care and education; 2) Addressing barriers to inclusion; 3) Promoting resiliency in the face of emergencies; 4) Promoting technical and vocational education and training; 5) Revitalising teacher education; 6) Promoting harmonization in higher education and research; and 7) Adopting a 21st Century curriculum.
The SEAMEO High Officials Meeting (HOM) is the forerunner of the annual SEAMEO Council Conference convened by SEAMEO Secretariat. It aims to scrutinize the proposed programmes, finances, legal aspects and matters concerning the administration and operation of SEAMEO as an Intergovernmental Organization. The 41st SEAMEO HOM consisted of two parts, In-Camera Session which was held on 27 November 2018, and a Plenary Session which was held on 28-29 November 2018. The meeting discussed on the working papers related to flagship projects and programmes for promoting and strengthening education, culture, and science in the region as well as to highlight the Inter-Centre Collaboration (ICC) ongoing projects and programmes of SEAMEO Regional Centres, SEAMEO Associate Member Countries, Affiliate Members, and Partners.
During this year’s 41st SEAMEO High Officials Meeting, there were 130 delegates from 11 SEAMEO Member Countries, three Associate Member Countries, four Affiliate Members, 26 SEAMEO Regional Centres and 11 Partners. The High Officials discussed and made decisions on SEAMEO working papers for the In-Camera Session, and 25 working papers for the Plenary Session. These working papers will be proposed for approval to the SEAMEO Council on the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference, to take place in Malaysia in July 2019.
The Welcome Remarks was delivered by Dr Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, Director of SEAMEO Secretariat. It was highlighted that in the 52 years since SEAMEO has been well established, and SEAMEO Secretariat had worked endlessly and relentlessly to introduce innovative programmes in education, science, and culture in Southeast Asia. For this year alone, SEAMEO has conducted more than 300 projects and programmes that covered education issues related to SEAMEO 7 Priority Areas among 11 SEAMEO Member Countries.
H.E Dr Sophon Napathorn, M D, Vice Minister of Education, Ministry of Education, Thailand delivered the Opening Speech and shared that Thailand has been recognized for having robust access to quality early childhood education including public and private education institutions as well as child development centres. Thailand is also promoting the NEW GEN S-Curve industries and launched a programme to achieve a target of training Thai students and the workforce in Aviation, logistics, megatronics, and industrial robotics.
Datuk Dr Amin bin Senin, Director General of Education, Ministry of Education, Malaysia, as the Chairperson of the 41st SEAMEO High Officials Meeting presented a worthwhile perspective to enhance SEAMEO’s strategic directions to put plans into actions to ensure that SEAMEO Member Countries and its partners progress well together at global levels particularly in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) on Education 2030. Malaysia believed commitments at all levels transcending national boundaries are pivotal to ensure Southeast Asian Countries can rise to the global challenges that are continuously getting more unpredictable and complex.
The 41st SEAMEO HOM resulted to positive outcomes and fruitful discussions and close connection among SEAMEO Member Countries, SEAMEO Associate Member Countries, Affiliate Members, and Partners necessary to continue and support the improvement and development of education, science, and culture in the region.