Friday, 08 March 2024 11:24

Creating a roadmap to accelerate foundational learning in Southeast Asia

Organisers and speakers from countries and invited organisations during the  High-Level Regional Conference on Foundational Learning on 23 February 2024 Organisers and speakers from countries and invited organisations during the High-Level Regional Conference on Foundational Learning on 23 February 2024

Siem Reap, Cambodia | Anieluz Pastolero: Back-to-back with the 14th SEA-PLM Regional Steering Committee, the High-Level Regional Conference on Foundational Learning, collaboratively organised by the SEA-PLM Regional Secretariat, SEAMEO Secretariat, UNICEF EAPRO, and the ASEAN Secretariat, spotlighted the enduring crisis in foundational learning as well as the progress, gaps, and opportunities for accelerating foundational learning across the region. Drawing from the findings of SEA-PLM 2019 and other international comparative large-scale assessments, substantial gaps in literacy in reading, writing, and math among primary school students have persisted even before the pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for concerted efforts to support learners across the region.

Several themes and issues were unpacked by the Ministries of Education in the region and foundational learning experts throughout the discussions, ranging from empowering teachers, supporting learners, transforming curriculum, early childhood learning, and financing primary education. The platform provided a rich set of perspectives to key actors in the education arena on the bottlenecks and opportunities to improve the learning crisis, particularly on cultivating foundational learning of children in the region.

Regional Strategy Snapshot

The conference concluded with the formulation of the regional priorities for action on foundational learning, aligning with the strategies identified during SEAMEO’s 6th Strategic Dialogue for Education Ministers in February 2023, as committed by the 11 SEAMEO member countries. The outcome document of the Conference will be released upon final consultation with countries. The SEA-PLM Regional Secretariat, with its technical collaborators, is also gearing up for the launch of the SEA-PLM regional reports focused on improving foundational learning across the region, with topics ranging from early childhood learning, equity factors, learning trajectories, and the exploration of global citizenship education.

The event was held on 23 February 2024 and attended by delegates from the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund and the Ministries of Education of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Viet Nam. Representatives from the Global Coalition on Foundational Learning also took part in the panel discussions, including the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, USAID, UNESCO, UNICEF, and World Bank, together with the education and policy experts from the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation, Korean Educational Development Institute, Association of Southeast Asian Teacher Education Network, SEAMEO CECCEP, ACER, and British Council.

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