In responding to the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, SEAMEO held a SEAMEO Congress on 28-29 April 2021 with the theme "Transforming Southeast Asian Education, Science and Culture in the Digital Age". SEAMEO Congress was designed to reimagine education through digitalization technology.
HE Ms Treenuch Thienthong, the Minister of Education of Thailand shared that during the pandemic and post-pandemic eras, we must be united in action and spirits to explore new directions and innovations for human resources development. She further mentioned that this event is a good starting point for all the participating countries, as this Congress is an opportunity to share and exchange new ideas and initiatives to transform education, science and culture in this new normal era.
In his keynote address, HE Dr Radzi Jidin, the Senior Minister of Education, Malaysia and the SEAMEO Council President emphasized that the valuable input and deliberations from SEAMEO Congress 2021 will contribute to the development of the original plan of actions in education transformation post the Covid-19 pandemic.
In her opening remarks, Dr Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela, the Director of SEAMEO Secretariat stated that in facing the challenges during and past the Covid-19 Pandemic, we need to redefine the way forward, to provide innovative platforms for intellectual discussions as well as practical exchanges of knowledge and experiences. These new, innovative and practical venues are needed for: 1. conversations on innovations breakthrough and best practices in Education, Science, and Culture to achieve SDG4 2030; 2. examining sustainable development platforms, networking and strategic collaborations among education actors and stakeholders in Southeast Asia and beyond; 3. enhancing the quality of learning and ensuring wider access and relevance of education in the region; and 4. building a consensus reflecting and concretizing transformative educational programs and action plans toward the development of a dynamic synergy of strengths, strategies and standards leading to the application of more inclusive and innovative learning paradigms and education policies to meet global standards. Furthermore, she mentioned the need to equip the alpha generation with the skills and confidence that will enable them to try in the pandemic and post-pandemic era.
The SEAMEO Congress presented 6 plenary sessions and 4 parallel sessions with more than 100 invited speakers. Dr Zulhamsyah Imran, the Director of SEAMEO BIOTROP, and Ms Tenni Wahyuni, SEAMEO BIOTROP Manager of General Administration Department, were the moderator and co-moderator in Parallel Session 2 with the theme "Building A Future for the the Alpha Generation" with subtheme "Addressing Inequality and Reengineering Education for the 21st Century" held on 28 April 2021.
The Congress was held virtually using FLOOR Application and was visited by around 3,200 people. The participants were the 26 SEAMEO Centres from all regions of Southeast Asia, more than 100 applicants of Paper and E-Poster presenters, over 15,000 registrants from 54 countries from Asia Pacific and around the world, and more than 50 virtual exhibitions from the Co-organizers and partners.