BIOTROP Deputy Director for Program Dr Jess C. Fernandez presented the accomplishments, experiences and lessons learned in implementing the SEAMEO STAR Village Program during the International Seminar on Education for Rural Community held on 1-3 August at Vansana Riverside Hotel in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
The SEAMEO STAR Village Program is a collaborative undertaking among the six SEAMEO Centres in Indonesia which was launched in 2015. The SEAMEO Centres involved are BIOTROP, Regional Centre for Food and Nutrition (RECFON), Regional Open Learning Centre (SEAMOLEC), and the three Regional Centres for Quality Improvement of Teachers and Education Personnel (QITEP) in Language, Mathematics and Science.
The international seminar was organized by the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Community Education Development (CED) in collaboration with the UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED), UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), and DVV International. It had the following objectives: 1) provide a platform for a diverse range of stakeholders to express their observation, analysis and aims for sustainable socio-economic development in rural areas, and share good practices and experiences regarding priorities and strategies to promote education and skills development in the context of community development; 2) identify the gaps of knowledge and actual needs in educational policies and practices to enable rural community to better improve their knowledge and skill; and 3) officially launch the project on “Lifelong learning for ethnic groups in the Greater Mekong Sub-region”and finalize the research outline with the six focal point institutions.
In his presentation, Dr Fernandez shared the capacity building activities conducted by the collaborating SEAMEO Centres of the SEAMEO STAR Village Program for the villagers of Cihideung Ilir in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. These include training courses and technical assistance on livelihood generation for farmers and housewifes by BIOTROP, teaching methods and strategies on language, mathematics, and science as well as developing digital learning materials for school teachers by SEAMEO QITEP Centres and SEAMOLEC, and enhancing awareness on food and nutrition for school teachers, students and community health workers by SEAMEO RECFON. He also highlighted the importance of having full support from local government units and school principals, commitment of the villagers and school teachers, and efficient and effective communication and coordination among all institutions involved in implementing a community-based and multi-stakeholders program such as the SEAMEO STAR Village Program.
The international seminar was attended by representatives from the non-formal education division of the Ministries of Education of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand, Faculty of Education of the National University of Laos, Governing Board Members and staff of SEAMEO CED, and representatives of collaborating institutions.