Philippines takes the lead in the 52nd SEAMEO Council Conference

Tuesday, 11 April 2023 | Emiljohn Columna Sentillas

The Department of Education Philippines, in close collaboration with the SEAMEO Secretariat, successfully hosted the 52nd SEAMEO Council Conference at Edsa Shangri-la Hotel, Manila, Philippines on 8 to 10 February 2023.

The three-day conference marked the start of the two-year SEAMEO Council Presidency of Her Excellency Sara Z Duterte, Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines and Secretary of Education.

The SEAMEO Council Conference 2023 provided a platform for Education Ministers and Heads of Delegations of the 11 SEAMEO member countries to discuss and share their experiences and insights in navigating education systems in Southeast Asia in the post-pandemic world.

In her Welcome Message, Vice-President Duterte emphasized the urgent need to address the learning gaps brought about by the pandemic. “As education leaders, we cannot allow a single child to miss out on the opportunity and benefits of learning and the wonders of being able to use it positively,” she said. 

Outgoing SEAMEO Council President, His Excellency Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education of Singapore, shared the gains and wins of SEAMEO during the past two years. Meanwhile, SEAMEO Secretariat Director Dr Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela presented the accomplishments of the SEAMEO units amid the pandemic.

The 52nd SEAMEO Council Conference also featured the 6th Strategic Dialogue for Education Ministers (SDEM) with the theme Prioritising Foundational Learning and Lifelong Learning: Investing in Literacy, Numeracy, and STEM Education in the Digital Era. Education Ministers and Heads of Delegations together with key regional partners shared their insights and reflections on the crucial role of foundational and lifelong learning in developing learners.

The SEAMEO Council approved 12 In-Camera Working Papers and 39 Plenary Session Working Papers and  welcomed the Southeast Asia One Health University Network (SEAOHUN) as a new Affiliate Member.

Twenty-six (26) exemplary staff from SEAMEO units were presented the SEAMEO Service Award during the welcome dinner to recognize their hard work, dedication, commitment and professionalism. 

Closing the conference, Vice-President Duterte thanked the SEAMEO Council Members for their active participation throughout the conference and said that she looks forward to collaborating with them during the Philippines SEAMEO Council Presidency.


The 11 SEAMEO Council Members and SEAMEO Secretariat Director during the Opening Ceremony of
the 52nd SEAMEO Council Conference at Manila, Philippines.


Her Excellency Ms Sara Z Duterte, Vice-President and Secretary of Education of the Philippines,
and Dr Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela, SEAMEO Secretariat Director spearheaded the 6th Strategic Dialogue for Education Ministers (SDEM).