ASEAN Awareness and Understanding Through Education

ASEAN Officials responsible for education met in Yangon from 25 to 26 September 2000, at the Eighth Meeting of the ASEAN Sub-Committee on Education (ASCOE) to review the progress of work accomplished over the past year and to discuss future collaborative activities for furthering regional cooperation in education.

Myanmar’s Minister for Education, H.E. U Than Aung, opened the Meeting. In his opening statement, the Minister noted that the 8th ASCOE Meeting illustrated the dedication to work for the progress of ASEAN for the benefit of ASEAN’s younger generations. The Minister emphasised the need for moral recovery and technical competency on the road to recovery, and stressed the important role of education in mobilising human resources. The Minister also noted with satisfaction the progress of collaborative activities carried out under the ASCOE framework in pursuing the Hanoi Plan of Action priorities on education.

High on the agenda of the Meeting were discussions on the implementation activities for the ASCOE flagship project on integration of ASEAN Studies in the primary and secondary schools curricula. ASCOE officials will collaborate to compile an ASEAN sourcebook containing information on the history, origins, formation and organisation of ASEAN, and profiles of ASEAN Member Countries providing information on the political, economic, social and cultural life of the peoples in each ASEAN country. Orientation training on the use of the Sourcebook as an instructional material will also be provided for teachers in Member Countries. The Meeting agreed to convene a regional planning workshop in the first quarter of 2001 to review and discuss inputs for the first draft of the Sourcebook. The Sourcebook will be a valuable asset in raising the awareness of ASEAN among its peoples, especially among the younger generation, instilling in them a consciousness of the ASEAN spirit and identity.

ASCOE officials noted with satisfaction the successful implementation of an ASCOE flagship project also focusing on promoting ASEAN awareness and understanding among the young generation in ASEAN Member Countries. The project, ASEAN Students Exchange Programme at the Secondary Schools Level was viewed as an effective tool in promoting ASEAN awareness and solidarity among the young students of ASEAN and recommended to be considered as a permanent feature in ASCOE’s annual activities.

Possible approaches for new project initiatives were also discussed in the light of the increasing trends of globalisation and the need to equip the region’s young with appropriate skills and competency to access available opportunities as ASEAN moves towards a knowledge-based society.

The 8th ASCOE Meeting also discussed the proposed restructuring of the ASEAN Sub-Committee on Education for more enhanced and effective implementation of ASEAN’s priorities for education.

The next ASCOE Meeting is scheduled for September 2001.