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SEAMEO College Project Management Committee Meeting and
SEAMEO Workshop on the Development of the 2035 Education Agenda Roadmap

30‐31 May 2016
The Suite I‐II, 3rd Floor, Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok Hotel
Bangkok, Thailand

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SEAMEO College is a very distinct and unique regional platform of education. It differs from any other collegial body, academy, or “brick and mortar” institution. SEAMEO College promotes education innovation not just in terms of curricula, teaching and learning methods, and new educational technologies, but as a virtual college organized around education leaders which promotes and integrates “indigenous wisdom and talent” into the collective knowledge, expertise, and institutional resources of SEAMEO Centres. SEAMEO College is animated by generative dialogues for accelerating learning and innovation on trans-boundary education human resources and development particular to the ASEAN Community.

Chiefly, SEAMEO College will fulfill the need for a kind of regional institution to specifically supplement the need for support systems of Education Ministers to scientifically anticipate and study trans-national issues and threats, as well as to conduct policy studies on trans-boundary and cross-cutting education/human resources and development (HRD) issues.

SEAMEO College consists of distinctive components which operate through: 1) a series of forums or four modules; 2) research and development activities; and 3) strengthening of human and technological capacities and connectivity across SEAMEO Centres. These components address specific challenges confronting ministers, high-level education leaders, practitioners and youth leaders in Southeast Asia and the world through human resource development.

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Module 1 or the Strategic Dialogue for Education Ministers (SDEM) plays a vital role to “set the tone” for SEAMEO College such that the themes selected are from various important educational issues within the region. This is a high-profile strategic dialogue among Southeast Asian education ministers. This dialogue will be facilitated by internationally well-known eminent persons, world-class educators, or peer ministers of education. Through this strategic dialogue, Southeast Asian education ministers will share ideas on regional frameworks for common standards in education and HRD.

Module 2 or the High Officials Country Case Study (HOCCS) performs a dual function: (a) to support the SDEMs in preparing the SDEM agenda and generating innovative solutions and policy interventions if required in implementing the decision made by the SDEMs, and (b) to deliberate on the inputs provided by the policy research, in-depth case study and other sources and propose innovative solutions and necessary actions and interventions.

Modules 3 and 4 are intended to build capacities at the SEAMEO College, which are achieved through developing SEAMEO’s own courses suited to regional needs and local contexts. As such, SEAMEO College selected from ideas identified by experts at SEAMEO Centres as well as from innovation advocates in and beyond the region to learn and discover what is most appropriate to Southeast Asian contexts.

In essence, the four modules are stand-alone activities but remain cohesive in terms of overall outputs framed through thematic regional integration.

Since 1965, the modality of cooperation between ASEAN and SEAMEO has been via essentially coordinative mechanisms among ministries that are tooled for solving national problems. However, regional and global issues and threats remain and are trans-boundary, cross-cutting and emergent. Thus, necessitating a need to provide Education Ministers – as a collegial regional governance body – with a new support mechanism specifically tooled for solving such issues, and thereby enables them to more systematically contribute to building an integrated SEAMEO and ASEAN Community accordingly.

In addition to the assertions leading to the conceptualization of the SEAMEO College, the onset of SEAMEO College was drawn from the current issues, emerging trends and priorities which SEAMEO Secretariat identified as major regional cross-cutting issues and concerns in the education sector. Hence, these issues and concerns, namely: a) bridging regional divides, b) accelerating the process of creating a “common space” for education in Southeast Asia, and c) social needs and market demand signaling systems for technical manpower, were the vital reasons for which SEAMEO College was conceptualized.

To contribute more to the region’s competitiveness, Education Ministers of Southeast Asia need more support programs for systematically anticipating emerging global challenges. It is for these important reasons that SEAMEO College was conceptualized through a series of intensive consultations led by a pool of experts in 2011-2012, involving various bodies such as ASED, Executive Committee, HOM and SEAMEO Centres.

Incorporated from May to July 2011 as one of the SEAMEO initiatives under the 2011-2020 SEAMEO Strategic Plan, the concept of the SEAMEO College was developed by the SEAMEO Secretariat and supported by the Japanese Fund for Poverty Reduction through Asian Development Bank. The SEAMEO Secretariat engages as the sole Executing Agency.

The official references used as basis for identified issues and concerns, as well as giving legal recognition to SEAMEO College were the regional agreements and documents. These include the ASEAN and SEAMEO Charters, ASEAN declarations, ASEAN and SEAMEO work plans, results and proceedings of ministerial and high officials meetings and forums such as SEAMEC, ASED, HOM and SOMED.

These collective bodies sought to hone and polish the project design for SEAMEO College, including Asian Development Bank where SEAMEO Secretariat submitted the project proposal. The aide memoire of the 35th SEAMEO HOM were addressed accordingly, and detailed project design was presented to and endorsed by the 35th SEAMEO High Officials Meeting In-Camera Session in November 2012. Following this, submission to the SEAMEO Council and permission by the 35th SEAMEO HOM In-Camera Session were sought in submitting this paper by referendum to the SEAMEO Council. The paper was then presented at the 47th SEAMEO Council Conference in March 2013. Thus, the final project proposal was submitted to the SEAMEO Council before it was finally approved.