Education is one of the most important cornerstones of self-sufficiency. It lies in the heart of capacity building, specifically of human development. It plays a vital role in providing inclusive development, contributing to the enhancement of regional competitiveness, improving the quality of people’s life, equipping Southeast Asia Region with greater technologies and creating a knowledge-based society. In Thailand, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been promoting self-reliant and sustainable concept since 1950’s. His self-sufficient economy philosophy is based on moderation, reasonableness, risk management, knowledged virtues in leading one’s life.
The international Community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, including one for education (SDG4- Education 2030), calling for a more equitable, inclusive and quality lifelong learning for all. Similarly, the Ministers of Education of Southeast Asia launched the SEAMEO New Education Agenda based on seven priority areas for the next 20 years (2015-2035) as follows: 1) Early Childhood Care and Education, 2) Addressing Barriers to Inclusion, 3) Resiliency in the Face of Emergencies, 4) Promoting Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), 5) Revitalising Teacher Education, 6) Promoting Harmonisation in Higher Education and Research, and 7) Adopting a 21st Century Curriculum. With the view of achieving sustainability of the region, there should be a more effective and thorough interconnected operation between SEAMEO Member Countries and education partners to pursue regional goals.
Bringing along together the regional commitments to ensure the equity and opportunities for all, the theme chosen for the congress, Making a Difference: Shaping a New Learning Paradigm for a Sustainable Southeast Asia, aims at providing a wisdom platform for education actors, both national and international level, to reflect how the shared experience of Southeast Asian countries can help enhance new teaching and learning paradigms that would reproduce best their self-understanding, levitate competitiveness and strengthen their social values. It also provides an opportunity for education actors to shape new learning paradigms in which academic, social and cultural virtues as well as values will shape not only personal character but also the moral fiber of a knowledge-based society in order to form a balanced and resilient learning society that the regional citizens can cope with global demands and challenges for human well-being as its ultimate goal.
There will be seven (7) sub-themes for the paper presentations and discussions:
Discuss the need for teacher education reform in Southeast Asia to ensure the improvement in the quality and quantity of teacher training in which pre-service and in-service teachers would intensively develop their teaching approaches towards continuous learning.
Address barriers to inclusive education by removing constraints that limit access to basic learning opportunities, with particular focus on gender inequality, socio-economic disparities, cultural minorities and indigenous people, children with special needs and in conflict with the law and communities in remote areas.
Share views and perspectives on how a more focused Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning would impact the learning outcomes of the learners and identify priority areas of development in innovating existing pedagogical approaches and shaping new learning paradigms.
Promote alternative delivery of education through diversified learning modes of using information and communication technology (ICT), online learning and electronic learning and introduce learners to the technology of digital classrooms.
Address the need to enhance education system in response to natural and/or manmade emergencies, hazards and disasters as well as promote resilience education in order to strengthen community responsiveness.
Review policies on solving the knowledge and skills gap in Southeast Asian countries and share strategies on how to bridge the output of skills development with the manpower requirements of global market, with particular focus on enhancing professional education and vocational training particularly in secondary level and higher education level.
Increase the level of participation and citizen engagement in the delivery of learning and in developing a more resilient educational system and strengthen the impact of public-private partnerships and closer collaboration among education actors and stakeholders in creating long-term and sustainable investments in education development in Southeast Asia.