SELANGOR, 27 May 2016 – Malaysia took the helm of the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting (ASED) from Lao PDR during the Ninth ASED in Selangor, Malaysia. The meeting was convened in conjunction with five other meetings of senior education officials and ministers of ASEAN Member States, Plus Three countries (China, Japan and ROK) and the East-Asia Summit (Australia, India, New Zealand, Russia, and United States) from 23 to 26 May 2016.  The adoption of the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020 set the tone and was the key highlight of the biennial meeting among the ASEAN education ministers.

Taking two year’s term from May 2016 to May 2018, Malaysia’s chairmanship focuses on the theme “Fostering ASEAN Community of Learners – Empowering Lives Through Education” which underscores the potential of education to ensure sustained economic growth, shared prosperity, political stability and social progress in ASEAN.  In his opening speech, Malaysian Minister of Education and Chair of the 9th ASED, H.E. Dato’ Seri Mahdzir bin Khalid, stressed the important role of education in promoting a better quality of life for children and young people, and in providing them opportunity to participate in and benefit from the realisation of a prosperous ASEAN Community 2025.  “Empowering the lives of our children and youth through education must be the focus of our collective cooperation,” he stated.

The ASEAN Education Ministers have also directed the alignment of the plans under the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation on Education and East Asia Summit Cooperation on Education, with the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020.  In support of efficient implementation of the said work plan, the ASEAN Education Ministers approved three key documents on education, namely, the ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Education for Out-of-School Children and Out-of-School Youth, the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework Governance and Structure and the revised Charter of the ASEAN University Network.

Existing and new partners pledged support to ASEAN and the implementation of the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020, namely UNESCO, UNICEF, SEAMEO and Teach for All Network as regards learning outcomes and metrics, teacher training, and promotion of shared values.  Progress of ongoing ASEAN projects was reported including those on higher education, technical and vocational education and training, qualifications frameworks, quality assurance, student mobility, credit transfer, university collaboration, and people-to-people connectivity.

The ASEAN Education Ministers commended efforts of project implementers and their efforts through existing ASEAN frameworks including the ASEAN University Network,  the AUN Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network, the ASEAN-EU Cooperation on Education on Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region, the GIZ Regional Cooperation Programme to Improve the Training of TVET Personnel, the Fulbright U.S.-ASEAN Initiative and Connecting the Mekong through Education and Training Project.

The three education ministerial meetings were chaired by the Minister Dato’ Seri Mahdzir bin Khalid and assisted by ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee. The three intermediate meetings of senior education officials were chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education of Malaysia Tan Sri Dr. Madinah binti Mohamad and assisted by ASEAN Director for Human Development Directorate Rodora T. Babaran.