A key distinguishing factor of the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) is that it is entirely embedded into existing national and regional systems and structures. At the centre of its governance structure sits the Regional Steering Committee (RSC). Composed of core and honorary members, core being those countries participating in SEA-PLM, and honorary being non-participating ASEAN and SEAMEO Countries and key partners, the RSC is responsible for the strategic direction of SEA-PLM.
In July 2019, the 10th Regional Steering Committee for SEA-PLM was held in Bangkok. 2019 represents a significant milestone for SEA-PLM with data being collected for the first assessment round SEA-PLM (SEA-PLM 2019). The meeting focused on preparing countries for the analysis, dissemination and use of results in 2020. Held over two and half days, countries and participants shared their experiences of using national, regional and international large-scale learning assessments to improve learning policy, looking particularly at the possibilities for analysis and ways to maximise use of data. Reflecting on and integrating these experiences are essential for a new regional learning assessment such as SEA-PLM.
Hosted by SEAMEO Secretariat and UNICEF EAPRO, the meeting was attended by represetatives from the six participating countries Cambodia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam, as well as honorary representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Thailand, and key partners, the Australian Council for Educational Research, UNESCO Bangkok and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
As well as these members, joining the Committee for the first time were Co-Chairs of the newly created Technical Advisory Group (TAG). Established for the purpose of providing independent scientific and technical advice on SEA-PLM methodology and data, Co-Chairs and learning assessment experts Dr Andres Sandoval from the University of Bath and Dr Jimin Cho, Director of the Korean Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) proved themselves to be valuable additions to the discussion.
Along with other key partners, both Co-Chairs presented important insights into the realities of planning and implementing for the analysis, reporting and dissemination phases, supported countries to look towards the year ahead and deepen their understanding of the steps and issues that require national consideration and agreement.
SEA-PLM 2019 results will be captured in one main regional report and six country level reports. The process to developing, reviewing and releasing these reports is fraught with a multitude of variables with the potential to impact the use of results. It is vital to the success of SEA-PLM 2019 that all activities and potential barriers are mapped out and planned in detail.
As UNICEF Regional Education Advisor Francisco Benavides and Co-Chair of the Regional Steering Committee stressed, it is through the collective effort at the regional and national level that has both enabled the creation of SEA-PLM and will be central to its success. With 2020 to present increasingly more technical and logistical challenges on a constrained calendar, it is ever more important that these partnerships are maximized on to deliver the vision of SEA-PLM.