The IIEP Education Sector Planning distance training programme in Asia was officially launched on 6 June 2012, simultaneously in the three participating countries (Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam). In collaboration with the University of Hong Kong and sponsored by J.P. Morgan, the programme will provide participants with the necessary skills to prepare critical and effective educational policies and plans to improve equity, inclusion, and the overall quality of education in the region.
Overall, more than 180 people attended the four ceremonies organized in Bangkok, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, and Jakarta. In addition to the 80 participants of this 11-month distance training programme, high-level representatives from UNESCO, Ministries of Education, local training Institutions, and J.P. Morgan attended the ceremonies and delivered opening addresses. Representatives of local media were also invited to cover the events. IIEP was represented at each event by its Director, who welcomed the participants via a pre-recorded video message.
The ceremonies were a great opportunity to highlight the role and the importance of educational planning to meet the new expectations of the populations, to continue the remarkable progress made by Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam in terms of access to basic education, and to face the new challenges in terms of human resources development generated by globalization, rapid economic growth, and socio-cultural change in the region. In his video message to introduce the training, Khalil Mahshi, Director of IIEP, underlined the fact that “without educational management and planning, we will not meet the challenges ahead and the expectations towards educational decision-makers”.
This vision was shared by other UNESCO representatives during the ceremonies. “The current situation requires very careful educational planning, and we need to think about what kind of future we want to have. Educational planning is aiming to close the gap between now and the future,” said Mr Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok, in his opening speech. A remark that found an echo in Indonesia, where Dr Anwar Al-Said (UNESCO education specialist) explained the importance of this training programme to bring in new ideas, to improve educational policy options and planning, and as a result, to improve the quality of education in the countries.
The Ministries of Education officials made clear in their presentations the importance of this programme for strengthening their capacities in a sustainable way and improving their educational systems. “I hope that this Distance Training Programme will be well implemented at the central level to be further expanded to the provincial and city levels”, said Dr Ir. H. Musliar Kasim, Vice Minister for Education, Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture. “It is really important to have good planning and policy development skills in order to be able to better strengthen the country’s education programmes”, he added.
In addition to these key messages delivered to the participants, J.P Morgan representatives in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Jakarta expressed the underlining importance of well-thought-out educational policies to strengthen educational programmes. “We have seen investments in human resources help lift countries out of poverty and steadily improve basic socio-economic indicators and social welfare. Strong, compelling evidence of this has occurred in recent decades in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam,” said Ms Jean K. Sung, Executive Director & Manager, Global Philanthropy Asia-Pacific of J.P. Morgan, in her opening address in Bangkok.
Following the opening addresses,* further information about the modalities of the programme and the agenda was provided to programme participants, who were then invited for lunch with all the senior representatives.
*In Bangkok, a workshop on educational planning issues in Thailand followed the opening ceremonies. Conducted by Dr Khunying Kasama Varavarn Na Ayudhaya, former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education, and Dr Yongyuth Chalamwong, Research Director at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), the discussions focused on inclusive school environments, student performance, employability, and lifelong learning.
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