Under new role, VP Duterte sets tone to resolve ASEAN education issues

Recognizing the learning gaps brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, newly installed Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Council President Vice President Sara Duterte promised to fight the education challenges and work on programs to address the learning losses.

Vice President Sara Duterte takes the helm as the new president of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Council on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. (Inday Sara Duterte/Facebook)

The official, who serves as Education secretary in a concurrent capacity, accepted the challenge of leading Southeast Asian education ministers in the post-pandemic recovery of the education sector.

“The Philippines humbly accepts the challenge of leading its Southeast Asian counterparts to post-pandemic recovery, while pursuing much-needed reforms in our education systems, ensuring that these fit within our Priority Education Agenda outlined in the SEAMEO Strategic Plan 2021-2030,” Duterte told member countries and representatives from associate member countries and affiliate members.

The Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary will hold the post from 2023 to 2025.

READ: VP Duterte assumes presidency of Southeast Asian education ministers’ organization

Brunei Darussalam’s Education Minister Her Excellency Datin Seri Setia Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Md Salleh was also elected as the new Vice President.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the President of the SEAMEO Council. More importantly, it is an inspiration to work harder and more passionately toward bringing impactful changes to the way we prepare our future workforce,” Duterte said.

She lauded the organization for fortifying measures to intensify the education systems among ASEAN countries.

Duterte also hailed efforts that support the capacity of educators to ensure the provision of quality education.

Vice President Sara Duterte (center) with Southeast Asian education ministers (Inday Sara Duterte/Facebook)

“For decades, SEAMEO has been a proactive partner of the Department of Education (DepEd) by offering multiple forms of support to our teachers, educators, researchers, students, and schools through its three regional centers; Regional Center of Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH); Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA); and Regional Center for Public Health, Hospital Administration, Environmental and Occupational Health (SEAMEO TROPMED),” she said.

The Vice President assured member-states and representatives that the Philippines is committed to supporting educational endeavors that will benefit the ASEAN community and the rest of the Southeast Asian region.

“We commit to facilitating a regional cooperation mechanism that will enable the entire ASEAN education ecosystem to realize the theme, ‘Transformation through Learning Exchange: Building Resilient Systems as a Region,’” she said.

Duterte took pride in the DepEd MATATAG education agenda, which “aims to prioritize our people’s improved access to quality, equitable and inclusive education”.