BRIDGING SKILLS GAP: More than 450 policymakers, education and development practitioners, academicians, scholars and other stakeholders from Southeast Asia gathered at the recent Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) Congress in Bangkok, Thailand in an attempt to study the implications of regionalisation in theory and in practice.
Inspired by the aspiration for an integrated community among the nations of Southeast Asia and the commitment to better prepare human resource to fuel a growing need for a greater and more competitive workforce to meet this regional objective, the congress was organised with support by the British Council and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology of Thailand.
Themed Southeast Asia in Transition: Re-thinking Education, Science and Culture for Regional Integration, the event focused on workable human resource development models and strategies to bridge skills gap within SEAMEO member countries and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Three sub-themes of the congress focused on reshaping education to bridge skills gap, enhancing science and technology education, and promoting cultural diversity and development.
Contexts tackled under the sub-themes included policies and reforms, teaching and learning innovations, and linkages and partnerships.
SEAMEO Secretariat director Dr Witaya Jeradechakul, who is also the main force behind this year’s SEAMEO Congress, said: “Efficient and responsive human resource is key to continued growth and healthy competition in Asean and Southeast Asia.”
He added: “More than ever, it is crucial for the region to rethink and reshape education so that it can effectively contribute to the promotion of deeper integration and steady growth in all spheres of life including economic, social and environmental in Southeast Asia.”
The British Council shapes and drives higher education through thought leadership, research, and policy dialogues in the United Kingdom and globally. Its Thailand director Andrew Glass said: “Focusing on internationalisation, the British Council aims at sharing the UK’s expertise and innovation globally, and bringing partners together to work on mutually beneficial collaborative projects.”
As Southeast Asia transitions to a fully integrated community, the congress presented a timely opportunity to tackle issues and challenges brought about by the region’s commitment to lasting unity and sustainable growth.