Jolin Nguyen, Bangkok, Thailand
1 December 2021 – The Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) programme won the Gold Award of the 9th annual Best of UNICEF Research (BOUR) global competition, hosted by the UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti, Italy.
From over 80 submissions from UNICEF’s Country Offices, Regional Offices, Headquarters, and National Committees to share their best and most impactful examples of research conducted or commissioned, the UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti selected the best research with the highest potential for tangible impact on policies and programmes benefiting children and young people. The Best of UNICEF Research 2021 showcased 11 powerful studies from around the world grouped according to UNICEF's five strategic priorities, as well as those covering multiple goals. The SEA-PLM programme presented by the SEA-PLM Secretariat, co-chaired by UNICEF Regional Office for East Asia and Pacific (UNICEF EAPRO) and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), Thailand, was granted with the Gold Medal Badge for the highest award, under Education - Goal Area 2: Every Child Learns.
Upon announcing the achievement of the SEA-PLM programme, Ms Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director, stated that “This ambitious, relevant, and timely project was commended for its rigorous quantitative methodology and in-depth data analysis based on a true co-creation approach involving governments from multiple countries. The study can be a powerful tool for improving children’s achievement in the region.”
On behalf of the SEA-PLM Secretariat, the co-chair, Mr Francisco Benavides, Education Advisor, UNICEF EAPRO, expressed great honour of receiving the award and extended the sincere appreciation to colleagues at UNICEF and the SEAMEO Secretariat, Ministers, experts, national team managers from 6 participating countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as partner organizations. He conveyed special gratitude to 29,000 students, teachers and families that were part of the research to present all Grade 5 students in participating countries.
The SEA-PLM programme aims to be a tool that will bring real change in learning policies and to build a regional community of practices with national stakeholders working to advance children’s learning in each country. The research is part of a broader and ambitious programme to improve learning. Mr Francisco stated that the SEA-PLM 2024 would be conducted to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on learning and the recovery from learning loss, not only in cognitive and academic terms but also in social, emotional skills and children’s wellbeing, as well as to analyse how effective we had been to protect the learning of our children. The Gold Award for the Best of UNICEF Research 2021 has given tremendous support to the journey of the SEA-PLM programme in its effort to improve the primary education quality in Southeast Asia, especially in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award event can be watched on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/QbRKCJAkcXc
More information of the award and the winning papers can be found at: https://www.unicef-irc.org/bour2021