From 26 to 28 October 2023, SEAMEO CELLL organised a chain of key programmes to commemorate its ten years in operation. The first day was the Centre’s 8th Governing Board Meeting, held at the Ministry of Education and Training, where a total of nine working papers including those on finance and education programmes were presented and approved by the Governing Board.
Just one year after the Centre had a new official Director, it has implemented a substantial array of initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of both formal and non-formal education, fostering sustainability in education in general. Prominent from the achievements are the country study “The Readiness of TVET Institutions for IR 4.0 in Southeast Asia” as part of a collaborative project initiated by SEAMEO VOCTECH, and the study “Adult Learning and Education in Vietnam and Recommendations for Development in line with the Marrakech Framework for Action” conducted for the Vietnam Association for Education for All, and the series of training workshops for teachers in techniques of assessment with the outcome of an item bank for testing different students in different subjects of general education. SEAMEO CELLL had also translated into Vietnamese the Curriculum for Managers of Adult Education Centres, which the Centre itself had written in 2021 and was disseminated worldwide by DVV International. This year, it will proceed with the writing of the accompanying teaching material to facilitate using the Curriculum on a large scale.
Speaking at the meeting, Ms Pintip Iamnirath commended the Centre on the significant achievements that it had made regarding the promotion of lifelong learning in the region.
The second event that took place on 27 October consisted of two components: a cultural visit to Hoa Lu, Vietnam’s ancient capital, and a workshop on “COVID-19 Impact on achieving SDG 4 and lessons learned about transforming education for resiliency.” At Hoa Lu, the Governing Board members were amazed by the ancient architecture, the immense capital area, and the wisdom of the then King who selected the location, which was protected from invasion by surrounding mountains. The afternoon workshop attended by not only the Centre’s Governing Board, but also nearly 30 educators, teachers, governmental education officials.
Ms Miki Nozawa, Education Programme Leader of UNESCO Ha Noi Office, was the key speaker. She emphasised that COVID-19 caused the biggest disruption to education in history and intensified the pre-existing education challenges. Therefore, UNESCO has by itself and in collaboration with other international organisations and countries, launched many programmes to response to the disruption. She quoted from the report “Can countries afford their national SDG 4 benchmarks?” alarming numbers about drop-outs and funding gaps to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4. The 79 low- and lower-middle-income countries would face an annual financing gap of $97 billion between 2023 and 2030, which is 21% of the total cost of achieving countries’ SDG 4 targets.
A group discussion followed where the participants shared the initiatives their countries have implemented in the fight against education disruption and the effort to keep education systems resilient. Different countries with different socio-economical situations have innovated various approaches to tackle the problems ranging from simple distribution of printed learning materials and exercises to households in places in Vietnam to provision of iPads with pre-installed learning programmes for students’ autonomous learning.
The third day marked the celebration of the 10-year anniversary of SEAMEO CELLL which took place at the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) with nearly 100 participants from MOET, UNESCO Hanoi Office, many education institutions, agencies, organisations including the Vietnam Association for Learning Promotion, and the Vietnam Association for Education for All. In his opening remarks, Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Phuc, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, said “Lifelong learning is the way forward. It’s not just a tool for personal growth; it’s also the key to socio-economic development.” Ms Pintip Iamnirath, Deputy Director of SEAMEO Secretariat, commended on the efforts that the Centre had made, saying “At the SEAMEO Secretariat, we have been witnessing to the incredible impact that SEAMEO CELLL has had on promoting the concept of lifelong learning in our region. In a world where disruptions occur with increasing frequency and in ever-evolving forms, the concept of lifelong learning has never been more important.”
Finally, Dr Le Thi My Ha, Director of SEAMEO CELLL, reviewed the achievements that the Centre had made despite its small sized staff. She also presented on the way forward for the Centre in light of the Five-Year Development Plan for 2022-2027, which had been approved by the SEAMEO Council.