November 18, 2020 — Hosted by the Philippines, senior officials from education ministries of ASEAN member states will come together for this year’s 15th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Education (SOM-ED) on Wednesday.

The meeting for this year, which will be held virtually, adopted the theme “Transforming Education the ASEAN Way: Forging Partnerships in the Age of Global Disruptions” as education ministers will share their best practices amidst the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During an international conference, Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones mentioned international cooperative solutions on education notwithstanding the presence of a pandemic.

“The challenge is to develop general ability to learn knowledge and skill for solving real-world problems and challenges. 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. We really need digital cooperation strategy to ensure high quality and also in rich equity of education,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones emphasized during the APEC Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific.

For this year, the proposal for the development of the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2021-2025 is expected to be completed through succeeding technical workshops and consultative meetings.

Coordinated by the ASEAN University Network (AUN), SOM-ED administers cooperation on higher education and serves as an ASEAN mechanism to:

  • promote cooperation among ASEAN scholars, academicians, and scientists in the region;
  • develop academic and professional human resource in the region;
  • promote information dissemination among the ASEAN academic community; and
  • enhance the awareness of regional identity and the sense of ‘ASEANness’ among members.

ASEAN cooperation on education is overseen at the Ministerial level by an ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting – which meets annually – and the implementation of the programs and activities for education matters is carried out by the ASEAN SOM-ED, which reports to the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting.

Apart from giving focus on the development of basic education, the progress on the Ad Hoc Working Group on ASEAN Higher Education Mobility to be hosted by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will also be looked forward to during the forum.

The Philippines, as the Chair of the ASEAN education sector, will also host the 11th ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting on November 20, 2020.