SEAMEO and UNICEF EAPRO Launch Initiative on Primary Learning Metric for Southeast Asia

Sunday, 22 August 2021 |

The launch was attended by the ministers of education and high officials from six SEAMEO Member Countries, including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand who all expressed enthusiasm about the project.   Dr Witaya Jeradechakul, Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat and Dr Isiye Ndombi, Deputy Regional Director of UNICEF EAPRO, chaired the SEA-PLM Launching Ceremony.

The SEA-PLM is a response to the need for assessment tools to measure learning outcomes for primary grades, and directly supports the goal of improving quality of education in the region through system-level monitoring of learner achievements, particularly in three domains, namely, numeracy, literacy and global citizenship which all relate to the 21st Century skills.  The project builds on existing tools and assessments already deployed within Southeast Asia such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA).

The development of the SEA-PLM started in 2012 when the concept was presented to, discussed and endorsed by the 35th SEAMEO High Officials Meeting (HOM) in November 2012.   The concept was further reviewed and ultimately approved by the 47th SEAMEO Council Conference in March 2013.   

Following the project ™s approval, consultations were immediately conducted which aimed at profiling the primary curriculum frameworks of the SEAMEO Member Countries.  Various discussions with relevant partners were also convened to develop the assessment design and procedures.  These activities comprised the Phase I implementation of the project which were reported to the 36th SEAMEO HOM in February 2014.  The 36th HOM has also identified the participating countries for Phase II, and endorsed the full implementation of the project.

The SEA-PLM Phase II involves the actual development and testing of the tools and protocols that will be used for assessment.  A component of the project focuses on building capacities of national examination and assessment personnel and staff of the participating SEAMEO Member Countries. 

The project is coordinated by the SEAMEO Secretariat and UNICEF EAPRO which are both based in Bangkok, Thailand.  Various SEAMEO Centres are involved in the development of the SEA-PLM and work with national teams at respective SEAMEO Member Countries.  UNESCO Bangkok takes part in the project as a partner. 

Education ministers and high-level officials in a group photo with the other participants of the SEA-PLM Launching Ceremony.

(Seated from left) : Dr Witaya Jeradechakul, Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat ;
H E Dr Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Cambodia ;
H E Pehin Abu Bakar Apong, Minister of Education, Brunei Darussalam ;
H E Lytou Bouapao, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Lao PDR ; and
Dr Isiye Ndombi, Deputy Regional Director of UNICEF EAPRO. 
Standing are other participants from SEAMEO Member Countries, SEAMEO Centres, UNICEF EAPRO, UNESCO, and the SEAMEO Secretariat.