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Organizational Profile of  SEAMEO

 

Introduction Strengths of SEAMEO
Organization of  SEAMEO The SEAMEO Regional Centres
Programmes and Activities of
SEAMEO
Funding of the Organization
Conclusion
1.   Introduction
The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) was established in November 1965 as a chartered international organization whose purpose is to promote cooperation in education, science and culture in the Southeast Asian region. The name was chosen to reflect the need for a regional grouping, the purpose of which is to share and maximize use of resources, with collective leadership to be provided by the Ministers of Education of the Member Countries.
SEAMEO at present consists of ten (10) Member Countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and Union of Myanmar; and six (6) Associate Member Countries that include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands and New Zealand. The Organization has 11 established Regional Centres/Network of excellence, namely BIOTROP, INNOTECH, RECSAM, RELC, RIHED, SEARCA, SPAFA, TROPMED Network namely: TROPMED/Indonesia, TROPMED/Malaysia, TROPMED/Philippines, TROPMED/Thailand, VOCTECH, SEAMEO Regional Training Centre, and SEAMEO Regional Open Learning Centre. These SEAMEO units serve as the empowered arm of the organization through the diverse range of expertise they offer: tropical biology, agriculture, tropical medicine, science and mathematics education, educational innovation and technology, language education, higher education development, archaeology and fine arts, vocational and technical education, open learning and distance education.
2.   Strengths of SEAMEO
SEAMEO is gaining increasing recognition from other established international organizations, agencies, institutions and governments through its programmes and activities in human resource development. Its flexibility and resilience have enabled it to meet the challenges posed by the fast changing political and socio-economic development in the region. More important is that through its strengths it has been able to bring forth several achievements and impacts for the benefits of its Member Countries.
Firstly, its professional and technical programmes and activities which are intrinsically regional in character and often conducted on a regular scheduled basis are special and unique. These programmes and activities are planned, organized and implemented primarily on Southeast Asian orientation and intended for Southeast Asians.
Secondly, the Organization has built over the last 30 years a strong infrastructure of extensive physical and equipment resources. Almost every Centre has its own campus, training, research and information dissemination facilities to enable it to carry out its functions successfully and with quality. Non-tangible resources of the Organization include its vast experiences, information, contacts, linkages and networks with well- established organizations and agencies, and reputation which have been gained over 30 years of existence.
Thirdly, the Organization is non-profit and not politically oriented. Its activities are focused on universally appealing themes of human resource development including sustainable development, empowerment of the people and gender in development. This fact helps to make SEAMEO attractive to countries wishing to make contributions to sustainable development at the grassroots level in Southeast Asia.
Fourthly, the technical competence and experience of its personnel, complemented by the technical expertise provided by the Associate Member Countries and partner agencies, accounts for the quality and impact of its programmes and activities. The regional characteristic of the Centres' professional staff also contributes to the richness in experience and competence of every Centre to handle projects that it undertakes.
And lastly, SEAMEO activities are not limited to Member Countries within the Southeast Asia region but are also open to participants, programmes and activities from outside the region. Interactions in these activities further enrich the experiences of the participants as well as the staff of the Centres.
3.   Organization of SEAMEO
3.1 An Intergovernmental and International Organization
SEAMEO is an intergovernmental organization which was established in accordance with the agreement of governments of Southeast Asian countries whose Ministers of Education signed for and on behalf of their corresponding governments. The governments have vested SEAMEO with legal status as a duly constituted international organization. With the ratification of the SEAMEO Charter, each government stands behind the commitment of its Minister of Education when the ministers meet as a Council to determine SEAMEO's programmes and activities. The Organization is also non-profit and not politically oriented.
3.2 Vision, Mission and Goals of the Organization
The SEAMEO Charter which was signed on 7 February 1968 and ratified by the Member Countries by January 1969, states the aspirations, overall purpose and functions of the Organization. The Charter was used as basis in the formulation of the Organization's mission statement that was approved by SEAMEO Council in February 1991.
The mission statement of SEAMEO reads as follows:
.... to promote cooperation among its Member and Associate Member Countries through its Regional Centres/Projects with their professional leadership role in training, research and development, information dissemination, and other relevant activities in order to assist the Member Countries to develop expertise and excellence in education, science and culture for the promotion of an enlightened and productive citizenry in their respective countries and for furthering the quality of life of all the peoples of the region.
3.3 Structure of the Organization
The Organizational and Relationship Charts of SEAMEO are shown in attachments  I and II.
3.3.1 The SEAMEO Council
The policy making body of SEAMEO is the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Council (SEAMEC) composed of the Ministers of Education of the Member Countries. The Council meets annually to formulate policies, approve programmes and budgets, and decide pertinent issues on the operation of the Organization.
3.3.2 Representatives of Associate Member Countries
The representatives of the Associate Member Countries participate and contribute in SEAMEO meetings but do not have voting rights.
3.3.3 High Officials
The High Officials are representatives of the SEAMEO Member Countries. Their main responsibility is to review the programmes and budget of the Organization on behalf of the Ministers of Education of the Member Countries.
3.3.4 The SEAMEO Secretariat
The SEAMEO Secretariat or SEAMES, located in Bangkok, is the executing agency of the Organization which ensures the implementation of the policies and programmes adopted by the Council. Other functions of the Secretariat include obtaining financial support from interested donors, planning and studying the feasibility of regional educational project proposals and other activities for the decision of the Council, administering or coordinating projects of regional significance or interest and disseminating public information materials and publications to create awareness, understanding and appreciation of the Organization both within and outside the SEAMEO region. The Director of SEAMES is the chief administrative officer and the legal representative of the Organization.
3.3.5 Governing Board
Except for the four (4) Regional Centres specializing in tropical medicine and public health, each Regional Centre has a Governing Board comprising the members nominated by the Minister/Secretary of Education of each Member Country. The Boards determine policies for the operation of the Centres, approve the annual programmes and budgets, control the accounts, formulate rules and regulations, and perform other duties as may be necessary. In the case of TROPMED, a single Governing Board is set up to oversee the operation of the four Regional Centres. The Governing Board of SEAMEO TROPMED is composed of representatives of the four participating countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The Director/Coordinator of each respective Centre as well as the Director of SEAMES are ex-officio members of the Governing Board. Associate Members have the right to participate and contribute but not to vote.
4.  The SEAMEO Regional Centres
The Organization has established, on a permanent basis 11 Regional Centres to implement its programmes, projects and activities which are focused on human resource development in the region. In addition, the TROPMED Network Central Office has also been set up in Bangkok to coordinate the activities of the four Regional Centres specializing in public health and tropical medicine.
The objectives and functions of the 11 SEAMEO Centres are as follows:
i) SEAMEO Regional Centre for Tropical Biology (SEAMEO BIOTROP), Bogor, Indonesia
The objective of BIOTROP is to assist Member States to identify important biological problems of the region, the solution of which will enhance economic development, and maintain sustainable utilization of natural resources in their respective countries and help solve the most critical of these problems.
ii) SEAMEO Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH), Quezon City, Philippines
The overall objective of INNOTECH is to identify educational problems common to the region and to assist SEAMEO Member Countries in the solution of these problems by encouraging innovation, developing model solutions, and exploring the utility of available educational technology wherever appropriate.
iii) SEAMEO Regional Centre for Education in Science and Mathematics (SEAMEO RECSAM), Penang, Malaysia
The objective of the Centre is to help improve the teaching of science and mathematics in Member Countries, in order to lay a firm foundation for meeting the scientific and technical manpower needs of Southeast Asian countries for national development.
iv) SEAMEO Regional Language Centre (SEAMEO RELC), Singapore
The general objective of RELC is to assist SEAMEO Member Countries to improve language education in their respective countries through development of expertise and cooperative efforts and programmes.
v) SEAMEO Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED), Bangkok, Thailand
The objectives of the Centre are to foster efficiency and effectiveness of higher education in their respective Member Countries focusing on policy and planning processes as well as administrative and management systems, through professional training, policy-oriented research and information dissemination; and to improve collaboration among Member Countries by establishing institutional linkages and enlisting their cooperation in strengthening institution building and development.
vi) SEAMEO Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO SEARCA), Los Ba?os, Philippines
The general objectives of SEARCA are to provide high quality graduate study in agriculture; promote, undertake and coordinate research and development programmes related to the agricultural needs and problems of the region; and disseminate findings of these programmes to the participating countries through publications, trainings and regional meetings. In addition, the Centre also serves as the Secretariat of the University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources which links five (5) leading agricultural universities in Southeast Asia, one (1) in Australia and another in Canada.
vii) SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO SPAFA), Bangkok, Thailand
The Centre aims to promote awareness, appreciation and better understanding of cultural heritage, strengthen professional competency and enhance archaeology and cultural activities in the region.
viii) SEAMEO Regional Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network (SEAMEO TROPMED Network), Bangkok, Thailand
The TROPMED Network consists of a network of four Regional Centres, namely:
a) Regional Centre for Community Nutrition (TROPMED/ Indonesia), Jakarta, Indonesia;
b) Regional Centre for Microbiology, Parasitology and Entomology (TROPMED/Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
c) Regional Centre for Public Health (TROPMED/ Philippines), Manila, Philippines
d) Regional Centre for Tropical Medicine (TROPMED/ Thailand), Bangkok, Thailand
The objective of the TROPMED Network is to promote cooperation in graduate education, training and research in the fields of tropical medicine, public health and community nutrition for prevention, control, and eradication of tropical endemic and environmental diseases in order to improve the health and living standards of the peoples of Southeast Asia.
ix) SEAMEO Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education (SEAMEO VOCTECH), Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
The general objective of VOCTECH is to identify and help solve common problems in the field of vocational and technical education among the Member Countries. Its activities are focused on addressing national, regional and local challenges in developing the competencies required of labour forces through vocational and technical education and training to achieve and implement economic, industrial, business and labour market goals and strategies.
x) SEAMEO Regional Training Centre (RTC), Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
The general objective of SEAMEO Training Centre in Ho Chi Minh City is to facilitate training for the three member states in Indochina with 4 areas of specializations, namely Languages and Distance Education (RELC), Hotel Management and Tourism (VOCTECH), Tropical Medicine (TROPMED) and Computer Education (INNOTECH).
xi) SEAMEO Regional Open Learning Centre (SEAMOLEC), Jakarta, Indonesia
The objectives are:
(1) to promote and foster open learning and distance education which can complement, supplement or substitute conventional classroom instruction;
(2) to act as open learning and distance education providers in SEAMEO Member Countries.

5.  Programmes and Activities of SEAMEO

There are six major categories of programmes and activities conducted at the SEAMEO Regional Centres. These are:

5.1 Training
All Centres conduct non-degree short-term and long-term training programmes which aim to develop or upgrade the competencies of the human resources of the region in their areas of specialization. At present only six (6) Centres, i.e. RELC, SEARCA and the four (4) TROPMED Centres, are offering training programmes leading to postgraduate degrees. In addition, all Centres offer customized programmes on specific request.
5.2 Conferences, Seminars and Workshop
Professional seminars, conferences and workshops are held to assist Member Countries to have a better understanding of problems and issues of the region, promote exchange of knowledge and skills, and help widen the network of communication and cooperation among educators, scholars, professionals and researchers in the region as well as those from other parts of the world.
5.3 Research and Development
Research and development programmes conducted by the various SEAMEO Regional Centres and participated by the Member Countries are aimed to help solve crucial problems of the region. Their findings are disseminated through training programmes, conferences, seminars, workshops and academic publications of the Centres.
5.4 Personnel Exchange
The personnel exchange programme is designed especially to meet the needs of institutions, agencies or projects within the region. Request for a personnel exchange grant will normally be initiated by such institutions or agencies. Exchange of personnel is limited to teaching, research or consultancy assignments and to nationals of the SEAMEO Member Countries. The attachments are usually for relatively short periods.
5.5 Information Technology and Clearinghouse Services
The information dissemination and clearinghouse functions of SEAMEO Units are implemented to encourage information sharing and exchange as well as professional cooperation. Activities under this category include publication of academic journals, newsletters and proceedings of meetings, update of regional information resource base or library resources and development of databases on specific areas of regional interest, e.g., aromatic and medicinal plants, weed, and training programmes on English for business and technology, INNOTECH Learning Resource Centre.
5.6 Consultancy Services
SEAMEO Centres also avail themselves of the services of consultants and experts from other countries to enrich inputs into their training, research and information activities. Consultancy services are available from SEAMEO Centres to other agencies or interested parties.
In addition, some SEAMEO Centres have excellent and conference facilities, international house facilities with various amenities for interested parties, transient visitors and businessmen such as RECSAM's Residence Halls in Penang, Malaysia., RELC's International House in Singapore, INNOTECH's guest house in Quezon City, Philippines and SEARCA's guest house in Los Banos, Philippines, VOCTECH International House in Gadong, Brunei Darussalam.
To ensure maximum effectiveness, all regional programmes and activities of the Centres are formulated through a unique process of careful preparation and collaboration starting with each individual Member Country assessing its own needs. Blueprints of programmes and activities are prepared by the Regional Centres with the assistance of country representatives and regional experts and incorporated in their draft Five-Year Development Plans. The draft Development Plans are first submitted to the Governing Boards for scrutiny and endorsement and then forwarded to the High Officials Meeting for further examination before they are finally submitted to the Conference of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Council (SEAMEC) for adoption. The Governing Boards may review the programmes and activities again before their implementation at the annual meetings of the Boards.
The thrusts or areas of emphasis of SEAMEO programmes and activities depend mainly on the strengths of the centres and priority needs of the Member Countries. Attachment III shows the thrusts of the eleven (11) SEAMEO Centres for their current development plans.
In addition to the regular activities that are specified in their Five-Year Development Plans, the Centres also conduct special training courses or research and development projects at the request of specific Member Countries tailored to meet their individual needs. Special regional projects developed by SEAMES in cooperation with Associate Member Countries or donor agencies/countries are often implemented in collaboration with the Centres.
6.  Funding of the Organization
Funding support for SEAMEO programmes and activities comes from various sources.
6.1 Operating Costs of SEAMES
The annual budget requirements of the SEAMEO Secretariat are fully met by the Member Countries. Each Member Country's share is determined in accordance with the Contribution Index adopted by the Council.
6.2 Operating and Capital Costs of Regional Centres
The Member Country hosting a particular Regional Centre contributes funds towards the capital and operating costs of the Centre.
6.3 Operating Costs of TROPMED Network Central
Member Countries participating in the TROPMED Network, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand share the operating costs of the Central Office on an equal basis.
6.4 Special Funds
The Special Funds refer to funds required for financing SEAMEO training and research scholarships and the costs of participation in regular programmes and activities including seminars, workshops, conferences and personnel exchanges, organized by the Regional Centres for participants of Member Countries. The Special Funds requirements of all Regional Centres are met by the allocation from the SEAMEO Educational Development Funds (SEDF), to which Member States, Associate Members, donor governments and agencies contribute.
6.5 Cost of Special Activities
Special activities outside of the regular programmes undertaken by Regional Centres are supported by funds raised by Centre Directors/Project Coordinators with the assistance of the Director of SEAMES. In case of special activities requested by Member Countries or agencies, the costs will be borne by the requesting institutions.

7.   Conclusion

Over the years, SEAMEO has proven to be a viable model for inter-governmental collaboration in educational development. Evaluation by participants of its regional programmes has shown the relevance and importance of its human resource development activities to the region. The results of its research and development projects in education, science and culture have been disseminated and many of them have been adopted in many parts of the region. More importantly, SEAMEO has demonstrated that governments can work together for common benefits. Enthusiastic appreciation of what SEAMEO is, what it does, and what it can do for the peoples of Southeast Asia has earned the Organization respect and support of many friendly governments and other professional agencies and organizations.

Thrusts and Areas of Emphasis of SEAMEO Programmes and Activities

SEAMEO Centres

Trusts/Areas of Emphasis

SEAMEO BIOTROP Tropical Forest Biology
     - Forest Ecology
     - Biotechnology
     - Biomanagement
Tropical Pest Biology
     - Biological Control
     - Pest of Stored Product
     - Weed Management
Tropical Aquatic Biology
     - Aquatic Biodiversity and Genetic Resource
       Management
     - Aquatic Ecosystem and Management
     -  Fish Health and Management
SEAMEO INNOTECH Educational planning and management
Educational innovation and technology
Instructional leadership/supervision
Performance management
Strategic planning and scenario building
Development of creative thinking and problem-solving
   skills
Research and evaluation
Programme/project planning, implementation, monitoring
   and evaluation
Nonformal education
Women in development
Community development
Learning materials development
Courseware design and production
Computer applications
New training technologies (techniques and tools)
Educational media production and utilization
SEAMEO RECSAM Innovative Methods in Teaching Science and Mathematics
  at the Primary and Secondary Level
Testing and Measurement
Remediation and Enrichment
Computer-based Learning in Science and Mathematics
Evaluation and Research
Educational Technology
SEAMEO RELC Linguistics
Language Pedagogy
Language Programme Administration
SEAMEO RIHED Policy and Planning Processes of Higher Education
Administrative and Management Systems
SEAMEO SEARCA Sustainable Rural Development, with emphasis of
  Uplands and Coastal Areas
Evaluation and Agricultural Technologies
Food Security
Management and Application of Agricultural Databases
Institutional Development of Agricultural University
  Consortium and selected institutions of Indochina
Agri-industries
SEAMEO SPAFA Archaeology
Visual Arts
Performing Arts
Cultural Resource Management and Administration
SEAMEO TROPMED/Indonesia Community Nutrition
Food Toxicology
SEAMEO TROPMED/Malaysia Applied Parasitology
Applied Entomology
Medical Microbiology
SEAMEO TROPMED/Philippines Public Health
Hospital Administration
Occupational and Environmental Health
SEAMEO TROPMED/Thailand General and Clinical Tropical Medicine
Tropical Paediatrics
SEAMEO VOCTECH Vocational and Technical Education Management
  Capability
     - Planning and Development
     - Research and Evaluation
SEAMEO Training Centre in Ho Chi Minh City Languages and Distance Education
Hotel Management and Tourism
Tropical Medicine
Computer Education
SEAMEO Regional Open Learning Centre, Indonesia Open learning
Distance education

 

Last updated: 16 November 2001    

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