MANDALUYONG CITY, February 09, 2023— Vice President and Secretary of Education Sara Z. Duterte calls for unity and urgency in addressing learning gaps and education equality in her message during the opening of the Southeast Asian Education Ministers for the 52nd SEAMEO Council Conference (SEAMEC).

“We need to act now. We cannot afford to waste more time. As education leaders, we cannot allow a single child to miss out on the opportunity and benefits of learning and the wonders of being able to use it positively,” VP Secretary Sara Z. Duterte said before the SEAMEC delegations in attendance.

“As education leaders, we have a huge responsibility. The decisions we make today will determine the quality of life in our countries and the entire ASEAN Region, and the ripple effect in these decisions can reverberate for generations to come,” she added.

The Education Chief made the call for all ASEAN leaders to embrace ‘bayanihan’, urging the members of the council to address the pressing issues of equitable access to education and the post recovery from the pandemic.

She also presented the MATATAG Agenda of the Department, highlighting the commitment of the agency to improve the quality of basic education in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, outgoing SEAMEO council president, H.E Mr. Chan Chun Sing from Singapore presented the innovative ways the ASEAN countries coped with the pandemic and how the lessons it brought shaped the landscape of their education.

Carrying the theme: Transformation through Learning Exchange: Building Resilient Systems as a Region, the three-day conference will discuss the transformation of education as demanded by the challenges faced by the sector, stemming from the damages brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of the mission of the conference is to highlight the need for resiliency in many countries and their education systems. SEAMEC is one of the platforms where education champions are given the opportunity to discuss and share their best practices for strengthening their education systems.

Additionally, the conference will witness the election of VP Secretary Sara Duterte as the council president from 2023 to 2025.