Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, who currently leads the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd), has been elected as the Vice President of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) for 2021-2022.
DepEd on Friday, June 18, made this announcement after Briones was elected for the position during the 51st SEAMEO Council (SEAMEC) Conference held on June 17.
Briones said she was grateful to be elected as the Vice President of SEAMEC. “This is a challenge for us to continue what we have started and improve it to continue education and to provide better future to our learners,” she added.
According to its website, SEAMEO is a regional intergovernmental organization which was established in 1965 among governments of Southeast Asian countries to “promote regional cooperation in education, science and culture in the region.”
SEAMEO is an organization which continues to “nurture human capacities” and explores the “peoples’ fullest potential.” Its Secretariat is located in Bangkok, Thailand.
The organization maintains its “work and aspirations for development with peoples of the region to make lives better” in quality and equity in education, preventive health education, culture and tradition, information and communication technology, languages, poverty alleviation and agriculture and natural resources.
The SEAMEO Council, on the other hand, is the organization’s “highest policy-making body” which comprises the 11 Southeast Asian education ministers.
Meanwhile, Briones was also voted the Vice Chairperson for the recently concluded SEAMEC Conference.
“As part of SEAMEO’s tradition, the current SEAMEC’s Vice President will assume presidency in the next Council Meeting in 2023,” DepEd said.
As the next host country, Briones proposed to host the 52nd SEAMEC in Dumaguete City in 2023.
“I would like to propose for the next round of meetings of SEAMEO Ministers in the Philippines, in the City of Dumaguete,” she said. “It is very well-known as University Town and is the site of several excellent universities and research centers. And research centers. At the same time, it is located in one of the most beautiful islands of Philippines,” she added.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education of Singapore His Excellency (H.E.) Chan Chung Sing was voted as the President and Chairman of the SEAMEC.
He emphasized that the education sector in the region has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Ministers of Education from different countries managed to keep schools safe and ensure learning continuity.
Sing cited that have been so “many silver linings” that the countries should be proud of which will impact education for the better. He also cited blended learning approaches that ensured learning opportunities will continue amidst the pandemic.
“Through a blended learning approach, where we can combine the best of technology where face-to-face [is] interrupted, the crisis has brought the education opportunity closer together and closer to our stakeholders,” Sing said. “With home-based learning, teachers work with parents and students to transit to the new arrangements,” he added.