PASIG CITY, August 30, 2023 – As part of the agency’s commitment to improving basic education with neighboring countries, the Department of Education (DepEd) hosted the first Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Executive Committee (EC) Meeting held outside Thailand on August 25 at the SEARCA Headquarters, University of the Philippines – Los Baños, Laguna.

In partnership with the SEAMEO Council Secretariat and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Research and Graduate Study on Agriculture (SEARCA), the SEAMEO EC Meeting brought together representatives from five-member countries – Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Singapore, and the Philippines – as determined by the organization’s preceding High Officials Meeting.

The sessions addressed critical topics for shaping the direction of all SEAMEO units and provided valuable insights for the upcoming High Officials Meeting, with Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching Dr. Gina O. Gonong as the chair.

Meanwhile, Datuk Dr. Habibah Abdul Rahim, the Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat, and its other delegates were also in attendance during the session.

In addition, delegates embarked on a school visit to Labuin Elementary School (LES) in Pila, Laguna, one of the pilot schools of SEARCA’s School-Plus-Home Gardens Project (SHGP), which received the 2017 SEAMEO – Japan Education and Sustainable Development (ESD) Award.

Through the school visit, delegates witnessed first-hand how the programs of SEAMEO Regional Centers benefit schools. Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Director of SEARCA, guided delegates in planting tissue-cultured banana seedlings within the school grounds.

SEAMEO is a regional intergovernmental organization established in 1965 to facilitate regional cooperation in education, science, and culture among its member countries. It comprises eleven Southeast Asian states: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Each country is represented by its national education agencies within the organization.

Vice President of the Philippines and Secretary Sara Z. Duterte currently sits as the President of the SEAMEO Council – SEAMEO’s highest decision-making body. Its term as SEAMEO Council President began this year and will end in 2025.