PEHIN Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awang Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong, the Minister of Education, is currently attending the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization’s (SEAMEO) Strategic Dialogue for Education Ministers at the Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel, Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). Education ministers from the other Southeast Asian countries are also attending to meet to discuss the education agenda for the next decade.
According to a press statement, the SEAMEO Strategic Dialogue of Education Ministers, or SDEM, a one-day meeting of the Southeast Asian Education Ministers, was held back-to-back with the Eighth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Education Ministers Meeting, the Second Asean Plus Three Education Ministers Meeting and the Second Asean East Asia Summit Education Ministers Meeting. SDEM aims to yield a more dynamic and forward-looking regional policy development process through a dialogue on the post-2015 education agenda for Southeast Asia. The dialogue, which is organised under the framework of the SEAMEO College and a flagship project of SEAMEO, introduced a platform for high-level discussions on forward-looking issues and concerns that will help prepare Southeast Asia for the challenges of the future, and support the aspirations for an Asean community.
As host country and minister for SDEM, the Minister of Education and Sports of Lao PDR, Dr Phankham Viphavanh, welcomed the delegations while Professor Dr Pham Vu Luan, the Minister of Education and Training of Vietnam, who is the incumbent President of the SEAMEO Council, officiated the opening of the dialogue.
Pehin Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awang Abu Bakar led the discussion for Roundtable Two which focused on exploring emerging trends, drivers of change and unmet challenges that are likely to affect education in Southeast Asia and how national efforts can support regional efforts of SEAMEO. The minister also co-lead the discussion for Roundtable Three with the Secretary of Education, The Philippines which focussed on setting directions and action points for inter-country and regional cooperation and seeking consensus on the agreed priorities and courses for the Post-2015 Education Agenda for SEAMEO.
During the roundtable sessions, the minister spoke of the important role of education in preparing the youth for employment and achievement in a world that is increasingly competitive and knowledge-based.
The minister also shared Brunei’s current educational development, especially the transformation of the existing Technical and Vocational Education and Training into a newly-established Brunei Technical Education (BTE). BTE, a system that builds on the educational foundation under Brunei’s National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN-21), and is positioned as a new pathway in post-secondary education for school-leavers, helps build a better educated and skilled workforce as well as equip school-leavers for jobs and careers in industries.
The minister also highlighted other current developments in the SPN-21 where various programmes have been initiated to further improve the education system in the country. These include development of the Brunei Darussalam Qualification Framework; the progress made in areas of literacy and numeracy; the whole school information and communication technology development in Brunei schools; the early childhood care and education programme and the newly-launched of the Brunei Teachers’ Standard.
Accompanying the minister are Dr Haji Emran bin Bahar, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam in Lao PDR, Dr Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Permanent Secretary (Core Education) at the Ministry of Education (MoE) and senior officials from MoE.