October 27, 2020 – To address the existing needs of the education sector on a worldwide scale, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones shared ‘Cooperative Solutions for Global Education and Sustainability’ to international counterparts during the 9th APEC Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific in her capacity as the Secretary of Education, and Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education Board of Advisers and the Philippine Qualifications Framework – National Coordinating Council.

“The challenge is to develop general ability to learn knowledge and skill for solving real-world problems and challenges. It is in this context that I would like to share our reflections on five discussion topics which were identified,” said Secretary Briones during the high-level virtual meeting on Monday.

Sec. Briones pointed that amid the crisis brought by COVID-19, the Philippines has been part of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization’s discussions on the responses of the different countries to continue education through numerous webinars.

Briones also shared that even before the pandemic, the Philippines already formed an Education Futures Unit, with initiatives from different parts of the world being incorporated into the plan.

“We are all aware that most of us, if not all of us, have been moving into the direction of futures education even without COVID-19. In 2015, for example, OECD already launched the Futures of Education and Skills 2030 project,” she said.

She also discussed that different countries developed remote education policies for the reason that the pandemic has introduced unprecedented challenges in Information and Communications Technology due to the shift from face-to-face to remote learning.

Also, with the change in the landscape in the education sector, she cited that the local government has been helping DepEd in addressing and securing education needs but noted that there have been equity problems since not all places have the same resources.

“We really need digital cooperation strategy to ensure high quality and also in rich equity of education. We, in the Philippines and SEAMEO for example, we are very concerned about equity issues… We would suggest that as we discuss these five topics, perhaps, equity is the most urgent and the most important,” the DepEd Secretary said.

With the theme “The New Era of Digital Education: Multilateral Approach and Challenges for APEC”, the program aims to get insights from university presidents, heads of education agencies, and research institutions on what should be the interventions moving forward.

The discussion of the plenary also gave importance to the essence of the digitalization of education and remote learning, especially in situations where face-to-face classes are still prohibited in different parts of the world.