On October 18, 2017, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Open Learning Centre (SEAMOLEC) has successfully conducted the 20th Governing Board Meeting in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The opening ceremony was attended and opened by Minister of Education and Sports of Lao PDR H.E. Madame Sengdeuane Lachantabone, Director of SEAMEO Secretariat, Representative from Embassy of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, and observers from SEAMEO Member Countries. FGD with GB Member and Lao PDR’s High Officials was conducted in the consecutive day.
In the opening ceremony, Director of SEAMOLEC, Dr. Abi Sujak expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Education and Sport (MoES) of Lao PDR for the warm hospitality so SEAMOLEC could conducted its GBM in a beautiful city of Vientiane. Dr. Abi also congratulated Lao PDR for the establishment the new SEAMEO Regional Centre for Community Development (SEAMEO CED).
Governing Board Meeting (GBM) is an annual meeting with its Governing Board Members from 11 SEAMEO Member countries to determine policies for the operation of the Center and to make the annual evaluation and reviews of the Center’s programs. Dr. Abi reported SEAMOLEC’s activities in accelerating ICT literacy culture in Southeast Asia including online and face-to-face training to Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, as its hosting country, SEAMOLEC assists West Java Province as the second lowest rank of Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in national level through implementation of Open and Distance Learning Model for Secondary School and this model is possible to be applied in Southeast Asian countries.
Director of SEAMEO Secretariat, Dr. Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, in his brief remark stated that Governing Board Meeting is critical and important for SEAMEO SEAMOLEC to ensure continuous evaluation and adjustments of the organizations’ directions in respond to the regional and global trends in providing references for the world. He said that Open and Distance Learning Model for West Java Province was a good initiative to help Indonesia’s Government to increase the GER of secondary education. Hopefully it could also be adopted and adapted by other countries in SEA region.
H.E. Madame Sengdeuane Lachantabone stated that Lao PDR committed to support the advancement of the SEAMEO Seven Priority Areas. One of them is by establishing a SEAMEO Centre for Community Education Development (SEAMEO CED) as a regional centre of excellence. The minister also said that SEAMOLEC GBM is an important event and it was a privilege for the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) of Lao PDR to share experiences in the area of open education and distance learning. MoES has assigned its High Officials to attend and engaged in the discussion relating to MoES’s programs and priorities 2018-2020 in Focus Group Discussion (FGD) session, to collaborate and working together in implementing the SEAMEO 7 Priority Areas.
In GB meeting session, Dr. Gatot presented a working paper related to Significant Policy, Points, Agreements and Actions Taken on Key Agenda Items From SEAMEO Meetings In FY 2016/2017. Furthermore, SEAMOLEC presented 9 Working Papers and 1 Other Matter in the meeting. During the meeting, SEAMEO Secretariat Director and Governing Board Members gave the valuable comments and recommendations for further improvement of the programs in the coming Fiscal Year.
Focus Group Discussion
On October 19, SEAMOLEC conducted a Focus Group Discussion with “The Importance of Technology-based Education in New Era of Collaboration” as the theme. It was opened by Director General of Department External Relation MoES of Lao PDR Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sisamone Sithirajvongsa. The high officials of MoES of Lao PDR came from 5 institutions; Department of Primary and Secondary Education, Department of Higher Education, Department of Teacher Education, Department of Technical and Vocational Education, and ICT Centre.
In the first session, high officials of Lao PDR shared information from the Ministry and its priorities in 2018-2020. They also shared information on current situation, opportunity and challenges of ICT implementation in Lao PDR.
While in the second session, SEAMEO Secretariat Director and SEAMOLEC Governing Board Member from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam shared best practices of technology-based education model in 21st century among Southeast Asian countries and shared the experiences related to educational services in “reaching the unreachable” .
FGD session concluded that SEAMOLEC opens the possibility to MoES of Lao PDR to apply potential program in Lao PDR by sending the proposal to SEAMOLEC. In addition, SEAMOLEC also open opportunity for Laotian students to have the internship at SEAMOLEC to learn ICT. (Elv/Aln/Mid)