UNESCO and SEAMEO agree to sign new Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen and expand cooperation

UNESCO and SEAMEO agree to sign new Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen and expand cooperation
  • © UNESCO/D. Bijeljac

On Wednesday 17 October, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, held a working lunch with Ministers of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).

Representatives of 10 of the 11 SEAMEO Member States participated in the meeting, along with the Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat. The event was a direct follow-up to the first UNESCO-SEAMEO Council consultation session, held in March 2007 during the 42nd SEAMEO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, and represents a sign of the growing collaboration between the two Organizations.

Discussions at the lunch focused on ways of strengthening and expanding cooperation between UNESCO and SEAMEO. It was agreed by all that the existing Memorandum of Understanding, dating back to 1975, should be renewed, and enlarged to encompass new areas of growing importance to the sub-region. Among these areas, Ministers identified the following: science education; ICTs in education; the role of languages in education; education for migrant populations; teacher training and the problem of brain drain; technical and vocation education and training (TVET); and education for sustainable development (ESD), understood as a framework not only for addressing issues of environmental sustainability, but also for promoting the values of respect, tolerance and intercultural understanding. The Director-General and Ministers also agreed on the need to reinforce cooperation in the field of culture, as well as on the importance of building a platform for cooperation between the 12 SEAMEO Centres and UNESCO’s Category 2 Centres in Asia.

It is intended that the new MOU will be signed during the 43rd SEAMEO Ministerial Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in March 2008, which Mr Matsuura will attend.

Referring to the agenda of this Ministerial Conference, it was suggested that an important theme for discussion would be progress toward achieving Education for All, based on the EFA Mid-Decade Assessments that are being prepared by countries in collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok. The aim would be to look at the implications of these assessments for developing new and improved policies, in particular for reaching the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. The Ministerial Conference will also address the role and impact of ICTs in education, an issue of key interest to the sub-region.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 140-2007
  • 18-10-2007
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