The First- Virtual 43rd SEAMEO High Officials Meeting

Sunday, 22 August 2021 |

The first- ever online 43rd SEAMEO High Officials Meeting (HOM) which marked the SEAMEO’s fifty-five anniversary was successfully convened on 30 November 2020 with 173 participants from 19 countries including Vice Ministers and Permanent Secretariats of 11 Southeast Asian countries as well as SEAMEO Associate Member Countries, SEAMEO Affiliate Members, SEAMEO Regional Centres and SEAMEO Partners.



The online SEAMEO HOM was presided over by His Excellency Mr Nathaphol Teepsuwan, Minister of Education of Thailand. His opening remarks highlighted the effects of global disruptions brought by COVID-19 and the advancement of digital technologies towards all sectors including education. Mr Teepsuwan also expressed that the SEAMEO’s Seven Priority Areas should continue to be given priority with the focus on inclusive education. He pointed out that the poorest and most vulnerable members of society must be taken care of, especially when disruptions are expected.

Mr Noor Azman bin Abdul Rahman, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Education of Malaysia as a Chairperson of the 42rd SEAMEO HOM highlighted in his speech that inclusive education is highly prioritised during the unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic and the online learning platform, webinars, and e-forum for regional collaborations should be organised to maximize the learning capacities and continuity. He also pointed out that the Joint Statement of Ministers of Education from the SEAMEO Ministerial Policy e-Forum on COVID-19 Response would highlight the Ministerial policy cooperation in the fight of COVID-19 and reaffirm the commitment of SEAMEO Regional Units to support all learners and educators in the region via multi-pronged innovative approaches.

Mr Lai Chung Han, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education of Singapore, and Dr Jesus Lorenzo R Mateo, Undersecretary, Department of Education, Philippines, were unanimously elected, as the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the 43rd SEAMEO High Officials Meeting, respectively.

A total of 18 Working Papers and 22 Working Papers were tabled at In Camera and Plenary sessions, respectively, during the one-day virtual meeting. The highlighted agenda of the meeting includes SEAMEO Strategic Plan 2021-2030, SEAMEO Congress 2021, Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) Programme, and UNESCO-SEAMEO Collaboration on the Bangkok Statement on Language and Inclusion. The reports of on-going regional project such as Digital Kids Asia-Pacific (DKAP), Developing Mathematics Regional Wide Assessment, School Fruit Garden for Education, Production, Genetic Conservation and Entrepreneurship in Agriculture Vocational Senior High Schools (SMARTS-BE), Universities’ Social Responsibility (USR) and Sustainable Development in SEAMEO RIHED’s AIMS Programme were endorsed.

As a part of the important agenda of the meeting, the High Officials of Southeast Asian countries shared the country report in supporting the SEAMEO 7 Priority Areas Implementation of SEAMEO Education Agenda during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  At the end of the meeting, SEAMEO Associate Members: Australia, Spain, United Kingdom; and SEAMEO Affiliate Members: International Council for Open and Distance  Education; University of Tsukuba; British Council; China Education Association for International Exchange; UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding;  and  British Columbia Council for International Education, presented proposals of collaboration with SEAMEO Secretariat and SEAMEO Regional Centres.               

In the occasion of celebrating the SEAMEO 55th Anniversary, the results of 55th SEAMEO Anniversary Activities including SEAMEO Youth in Action Competition, SEAMEO Essay Writing Contest, and SEAMEO Photo Contest were presented to the High Officials at the meeting. The 19 congratulatory messages for the SEAMEO 55th Anniversary in the form of video clips from the following SEAMEO partners were shown during the meeting.   

Congratulatory messages from SEAMEO Partners: 

  • Affiliate Members
    • University of Tsukuba, Japan
      Prof Dr Masami Isoda, Director of Centre for Research on International Cooperation in Educational Development (CRICED)
      Prof Dr Nakao Nomura, Regional Director of South East Asia and Taiwan Offices
  • SEAMEO Partners