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7th China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week Opening Ceremony
Keynote Speech by Dr Witaya Jeradechakul
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(September 1st, 2014, Guiyang)

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. Ni Hao!

The theme of this year’s China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week (CAECW) is “Hand in Hand, Education for the People". The theme reminds me of one very simple quote from the famous humanitarian Hellen Keller: Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.

Simple and yet profound – this quote puts into light the role of cooperation in achieving greater results for education. I think you will all agree with me when I say that unity towards one shared goal results to nothing else but success. Education which is a basic human right should be the subject of greater cooperation and all-out support from every sector of the society. 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to be again giving address for the occasion of the 7th CAECW – my third time in a row, since 2012. My being here is a testament on the successful cooperation of SEAMEO and ASEAN-China Centre and the Guizhou Provincial Department of Education (GPDE). Last year, during the 6th CAECW, we signed a tripartite SEAMEO-ACC-GPDE cooperation on co-organizing CAECW but more than the CAECW, GPDE and ACC are now regular partners of SEAMEO and as such had been more involved in SEAMEO Meetings. Just this June 2014, GPDE has been represented in the SEAMEO Centre Directors Meeting 2014 by the Executive Deputy Secretary General of CAECW Secretariat, Mr Liu Baoli, who participated as well in the Collaborative and Networking Sessions with the SEAMEO Centre Directors. Based on the feedback from the SEAMEO Centres, the session with Mr Baoli and his colleague was useful as they are able to know more about Education Cooperation Week and possibilities of partnerships and cooperation for the activity. I believe a number of my SEAMEO colleagues are participating in this event.  

In recognition of the significance of cooperation on education that SEAMEO and ACC have both a specific session, just held a while ago, Promotional Meeting for SEAMEO and its SEAMEO Regional Centres. The session was especially helpful for SEAMEO to introduce its work in Southeast Asia, our flagship projects and talk a bit about SEAMEO’s partnership and collaborative strategies. The session provided SEAMEO opportunity to likewise interact and establish linkage with Chinese and ASEAN education institutions participating in this event. We look forward to meeting more Chinese organizations in the next few days of the CAECW.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

I believe the future of education depends on today’s generations who are endowed with the wisdom of the future, seeking to create the preferred future out of the possible futures that are open to them. As a leading international organization in Southeast Asia, SEAMEO is undertaking a very significant step towards helping Southeast Asia prepare for future of education, post-2015. SEAMEO has initiated the SEAMEO Regional Study and Development of Post-2015 Education Scenarios and Post-EFA Agenda in Southeast Asia. A consultation workshop among SEAMEO stakeholders was conducted to gather long and short-term recommendations on most appropriate education agenda in Southeast Asia beyond 2015 taking into consideration the region’s unique needs and context. The process includes foresight study, scenario building and Delphi questionnaire.

The study considers 4 generic futures: sustained growth, disciplined society, collapsed society and transformative society. From the analysis of possibilities of these 4 futures, we have come up with a preferred scenario for education– which is a combination of sustained growth and disciplined society. In this scenario, by 2035, Southeast Asia will be seen by the world as a unified regional grouping. Among others, by 2035: 

   Southeast Asian education standards such as teachers’ competencies, quality learning environment, and teacher training curricula are in place;

   Curricula will contain content such as Southeast Asian languages, gender and culture sensitivity, and technology such as robotics in education; 

  Education and various schooling modalities and opportunities are made available to anyone, anywhere and anytime; 

    Guaranteed equitable access to quality education 

    Southeast Asian values well incorporated in the ASEAN and Southeast Asian schools and curricula promoting ASEAN and Southeast Asian citizenship which supports global citizenship;

  Private sector is now a legitimate and indispensable partner of governments in education development and as link to industry for employment of graduates in the region.

The last point I would like to highlight – “private sector and industry as legitimate partners of national governments on education”. Towards this end, I believe both Southeast Asian countries and China had very good models on industry-government-university partnerships; and that these models we can both learned from, adopt in the country context and mutually benefit from these models. This is where the ‘hand in hand’ concept comes in, Southeast Asia and China learning from each other, working together for education and multiplying success for our youth – the future of our nations.          

Ladies and gentlemen, 

At this point, let me congratulate GPDE and the Ministry of Education China for the commendable preparations for this event. Truly CAECW is a worthwhile platform for collaboration and partnerships, promoting mutual understanding and harmony between Southeast Asia and China. My wish is for CAECW to last hundred years more.    

On behalf of SEAMEO, I extend our appreciation for this partnership with GPDE and we look forward to further expanding our partnership with Chinese education institutions.  

Thank you very much. 

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