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Article 16/03/2022

Southeast Asia leaders and UK experts examine education disruption

On 16 March 2022, EdDevTrust was pleased to host a panel session as ASEAN Ministers of Education met with UK government officials and education specialists to discuss education challenges following COVID-19.

The Recover learning and rebuild education in the ASEAN region roundtable was co-hosted by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat; the Ministry of Education and Training, Viet Nam; British Expertise International (BEI), Department for International Trade in the United Kingdom (DIT); and the Cambridge Partnership for Education.

Following the event, the ASEAN Secretariat and Cambridge will publish a policy brief to share recommendations arising from the discussion.

Two years after COVID-19 related school closures first affected the quality of education for more than 152 million children in Southeast Asia, Ministers of Education and representatives from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam met to discuss:

  • Learning loss and accelerated learning
  • Access to education
  • Building resilience in education systems.

Sir Steve Smith, the UK government’s international education champion, opened the event with a keynote address. Education Development Trust , Palladium and Cambridge Education Mott Macdonald, members of the BEI Education Working Group, then supported three panel discussions.

Tony McAleavy, Education Director, led EdDevTrust's panel session on 'Access to education'. Access has long been on the educational agenda. However, despite the huge successes of increasing enrolment, access remains a central and increasingly complex issue. The drive in the late 1990s and early 2000s to get more children into school did not reach the most marginalised, and unequal access to learning once in school is now the crisis of our time – only worsened by Covid-19. The panel session explored the new facets of and solutions to the access challenge – covering marginalisation, inequality, exclusion and reach, as well as the newly emerging areas which could help (or worsen) the situation – EdTech and connectivity. Ministers contributed their experiences and insights into existing successful solutions and approaches for the future.

This event built on the BEI Education Working Group briefing paper: Recover Learning, Rebuild Education published last year to outline sustainable, systemic interventions to respond to COVID-19 education challenges. Click here to go straight to our case study.

In building back better after Covid, we need to be ambitious and include a focus on access to upper-secondary education. Universal enrolment in primary and lower-secondary is not enough. We need to complete the work by ensuring access for all young people to upper-secondary or high-level technical education. As an organisation we have particular interest in girls’ education and the action needed to help disadvantaged girls fulfil their potential.
Tony McAleavy, Education Director, Education Development Trust

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