By Genalyn Kabiling
NONTHABURI, Thailand — Providing inclusive, equitable and quality education will be a priority of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to empower the people to contribute to peace and progress in the region.
The regional leaders have issued the “Bangkok Declaration on Advancing Partnership in Education for 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in ASEAN” during the plenary summit Saturday.
They have emphasized “the crucial role of inclusive, equitable and quality education as well as the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all in realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
In the declaration, the leaders agreed “to provide inclusive and quality education, and lifelong learning and training to respond to regional and global trends through formal, non-formal and informal systems.”
They promised to ensure ASEAN children will have access to quality early childhood care and education so that they are ready for primary education.
To ensure qualified human resources to serve all sectors, the regional bloc committed to promote inclusive education at all levels of education and training to eliminate disparities for the vulnerable and marginalized those with special needs, and out-of-school children and youth.
They also agreed to equip learners with the 21st century skills through an integrated teaching and learning approach and innovation as well as encourage the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning, teacher training, as well as education management and leadership.
To meet the employment demands of the market, the regional leaders committed to
enhance equitable access to quality and relevant Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Higher Education as well as encourage the development and strengthening of Educational Management Information System (EMIS) and data utilization for monitoring the progress of Education for 2030 Agenda.
The group also agreed to enhance qualifications recognition in ASEAN and adopt the Southeast Asia Teachers Competency Framework (SEA-TCF).
They agreed “to empower learners to become active promoters of peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies by equipping them with knowledge, behaviors, attitudes and values on global citizenship.”
In the same declaration, the leaders agreed on the raising of awareness on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and on advancing partnership to attain such agenda.
“(The leaders) pledge our resolve and commitment to this Declaration to ensure the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to realize ASEAN as the spirit of equality and partnership, so that our people will be empowered to contribute towards peace, progress and prosperity in the region as aspired by the ASEAN founders in 1967,” it said.