Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Joins Global Leaders in the UN Transforming Education Summit 2022

Thursday, 08 December 2022 | Emiljohn Columna Sentillas

The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) participated in the UN Transforming Education Summit (TES) 2022 at the United Nations (UN), New York City on 16, 17, and 19 September 2022. The three-day summit was convened by the UN Secretary-General in response to the education crisis further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Represented by SEAMEO Secretariat Director Dr Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela, SEAMEO as a member of the SDG 4 High-Level Steering Committee (HLSC) led in the call for action and commitments to member countries to reimagine and transform education systems.

More than 130 countries at the summit, including SEAMEO member countries, committed to transforming education and accelerating efforts to address the learning crisis. These commitments were developed through nationwide consultations with children, youth, schools, teachers, communities, and key stakeholders conducted prior to the summit. UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his opening remarks reiterated that “Now is the time to transform education systems.  So, dear world leaders, your people, the world’s young people and future generations are calling on you to act with vision and purpose.  A new vision for education in the twenty-first century is taking shape.”

The TES 2022 heavily engaged the youth in conducting the summit and calling for commitments from policymakers and education leaders. Thus, Day 1 of the Summit, dubbed as Mobilisation Day, was youth-led and will be the platform to deliver the recommendations of the youth on how to transform education.

Day 2 highlighted the role of partnerships in transforming education. Solutions Day convened organisations and groups to mobilise support on initiatives and innovations which could be expanded and scaled up. Dr Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela served as a panel member in a session on Pathways to Transforming Education organised by Catalyst 2030 Education Collaboration which brought together over 60 social entrepreneurs to achieve SDG 4. Dr Pascua-Valenzuela shared the initiatives of SEAMEO in ensuring the holistic development of children and youth, and how we can strengthen policies and serve as catalysts of change.

Leaders Day was the third day of the summit which saw the presentation of National Statements of Commitment by Heads of State and Government through roundtable discussions. These national statements were borne out of nationwide consultations. These statements can be accessed here:

At the end of the Summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres presented his Vision Statement to urge leaders for collective action. The Vision Statement discussed how “a crisis in education affects us all.” The Statement also expounded on rethinking the purpose and content of education in the 21st century and transforming education systems to meet our higher purposes. UN Secretary-General Guterres highlighted that “education transformation requires the collective commitment and action of visionary political leaders at all levels, parents, students, teachers, and the public at large.” Further, the SDG 4 HLSC will play a key role in following-up in the commitments made during the summit.

SEAMEO and its 26 centres and network also participated in the TES 2022 by providing their thoughts on how to transform education. This was published in the SEAMEO social media platform in solidarity with the TES 2022 calls for action.


Dr Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela, SEAMEO Secretariat Director, discussed initiatives of SEAMEO in fostering the holistic development of learners in a session on Pathways to Transforming Education organised by Catalyst 2030 Education Collaboration.


SEAMEO joins the Transforming Education Summit 2022 by sharing lessons and recommendations from
the SEAMEO Congress highlighting how we can transform Southeast Asian Education, Science, and Culture in the Digital Age.
Scan the QR Code to learn more.