Malaysia hosts 50th SEAMEO Council Conference

Sunday, 22 August 2021 |

The Ministry of Education, Malaysia in collaboration with SEAMEO Secretariat, hosted the largest gathering of Ministers of Education in Southeast Asia at the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference from 22 to 25 July 2019 at the Sunway Hotel Resort and Spa, Malaysia. This year marks the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference.

The three-day conference attended by more than 160 participants comprising of the Ministers of Education and senior education officials from 11 SEAMEO Member Countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam); representatives from 3 SEAMEO Associate Member Countries: Australia, Spain and Germany; 3 Affiliate Members: the British Council, China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), and UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (UNESCO-APCEIU); and 26 SEAMEO Regional Centres and/or Network as well as SEAMEO partners such as the UNICEF and UNESCO Bangkok. 


H E Dr Maszlee Malik, Minister of Education, Malaysia officially opened the Conference on 23 July 2019. In his opening remarks, he highlighted that the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference marks an important milestone in the history of SEAMEO as the oldest regional forum for education in Southeast Asia (SEA) and pointed out that SEAMEO has come a long way since its first Council Conference in Bangkok, Thailand in 1965.  He also acknowledged SEAMEO’s contribution through the various SEAMEO Regional Centres to education, science and culture in the last 54 years.  He recognised the collective commitment in the field of education that is reflected clearly in SEAMEO’s Seven Priority Areas that has been endorsed by all Ministers and implemented through the operations of 25 Regional Centres and one Network located in across SEAMEO Member Countries.

H E Dr Maszlee Malik posed several critical questions to his fellow Ministers of Education;

  • Has SEAMEO done enough for our regional education advancement?
  • Has SEAMEO created a robust framework for regional cooperation that can withstand current challenges in terms of new technologies and shifting global dynamics?
  • Who can SEAMEO engage to adapt to the new changes in the perpetually changing landscape of education?
  • How aligned are the initiatives to the regional aspirations of greater economic integration towards shared prosperity in Southeast Asia?
  • Has SEAMEO been truly inclusive in its efforts and shared vision?

The 50th SEAMEO Council Conference in Kuala Lumpur showcases the accomplishments of a strong regional cooperation and support from the Ministers of Education of the SEAMEO Member Countries through the efforts and achievements of SEAMEO Secretariat and its 25 SEAMEO Regional Centres and one Network. It also signals the continuing support and drive of the SEAMEO Council that strives towards regional understanding and cooperation in Education, Science and Culture for a better quality of life of the people of Southeast Asia and beyond.  

To celebrate this important occasion, several events were held, including the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference Exhibition, the launch of the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference Coffee Table Book named ‘A Golden Milestone: SEAMEO Council in Action’ and a video highlighting 50th Year of SEAMEO Council Conference. The book and video showcase the milestones of SEAMEO and SEAMEO Council spanning over half a century. Those also outline the enormous contributions of the SEAMEO Council Conference as the highest decision-making body of SEAMEO. 

High on the agenda of the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference were ongoing discussions relating to education policy and development across Southeast Asia including:

  • the Implementation of Activities under the 7 Priority Areas (2015-2035) of SEAMEO Education Agenda
  • Progress Report on the SEAMEO Strategic Plan (2011-2020) and the development of the Post 2020 SEAMEO Strategic Plan
  • SEAMEO Inter-Centre Collaboration Programmes and Projects 2018-2020
  • Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM)

One of the highlights of the 50th SEAMEO Council Conference was the presentation of awards for the winners of SEAMEO Regional Awards, namely SEAMEO-Jasper Award, supported by the Government of Canada; and SEAMEO – Australia Education Links, supported by the Government of Australia.  The awards were presented by H E Dr Maszlee Malik, Minister of Education, Malaysia during the welcome dinner on 23 July 2019. 


The winner of SEAMEO-Jasper Award 2018 with the theme “Overcoming Barriers to Inclusion” is Prof Faaizah binti Shahbodin, Director Centre for Academics Excellence and Scholarships from Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), Malaysia. The winner of SEAMEO-Australia Education Links Award 2018 is the project titled “On-Going Project on Think Tales of the Borneo: Creating Story Thinkers in ESL Classroom” by Mr Mohd Sirhajwan Idek, a teacher at Keningau Vocational College, Sabah, Malaysia.


In this occasion as well, H E Dr Maszlee Malik as the SEAMEO Council President also presented the SEAMEO Service Awards as recognition and appreciation to 22 staff members of SEAMEO Secretariat and SEAMEO Units who demonstrate high level of work performance, innovation, creativity, professionalism and commitment to the Organization.

The next 51st SEAMEO Council Conference will be hosted by Singapore in 2021.

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