Knowledge Generation and Dissemination to Support Education Reforms for the 21st Century
In order to support member states in reforming their education systems in preparation for the 21st century, UNESCO through its Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok, Thailand in collaboration with her partners will facilitate:
- knowledge generation and dissemination of innovative and effective education policies; and
- capacity building and mutual learning in conducting technically-robust education policy research for government officials and researchers in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Knowledge Generation and Dissemination to Support Policy Reform in Member States project is being implemented through UNESCO Bangkok’s existing networks, i.e. Asia-Pacific Education Research Institutes Network (ERI-Net) and the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia Pacific (NEQMAP). The success of this project also relies on the close cooperation with various international partners, generous funding and technical support from the Malaysia Funds-in-Trust, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kobe University, Zhejiang University and Korean Education Development Institute (KEDI).
- Through the project, UNESCO had successfully organized 3 regional studies expert meeting focusing on key issues particularly on the integration of transversal competencies; utilization of assessment data for policy making and school finance. One of which is the 2015 ERI-Net Expert Meeting for School Education Group (Phase III Study on Integrating Transversal Skills in Policies and Practice: How Teachers Could Better Respond to and Prepare for the Globalization of Education).
- Launched a regional programme called “Learning Enablers for Asia and Pacific” (LEAP) which specifically focuses on 1) mapping of national practices of collecting, analyzing and utilizing international and national assessment data for policy formulation and implementation, 2) conducting analysis of large scale international and national assessments to identity learning enablers and 3) organizing technical workshops to enhance institutional and human capacity in the area of data analysis and policy design.
- Developed UNESCO’s online knowledge portal on education policies (National Education Systems and Policies in Asia-Pacific, NESPAP). Policy makers and researchers across the Asia Pacific region have greatly benefitted especially on the latest discussions of education policies as well as best practices. The NESPAP platform (www.unescobkk.org/nespap) is maintained by UNESCO Bangkok.
- Published two (2) education policy briefs as a pilot: 1) flexible learning strategy 2) skills development
- Published four (4) policy/thematic briefs
- ERI-Net Phase II report: School and Teaching Practices for Twenty-first Century Challenges: Lessons from the Asia-Pacific Region
- ERI-Net Phase III report: Preparing and Supporting Teachers in the Asia-Pacific to Meet the Challenges of 21st Century Learning
- Teacher Status and Career Paths in Asia Pacific, Promoting Teacher Growth in Education Policies and Practice
- Preparing and supporting teachers to meet the challenges of 21st learning in Asia-Pacific
- Ensuring Adequate, Efficient & Equitable Financing in Schools
- Large-scale Assessment Data and Learning Outcome
Skills Development through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
Skills are vital for poverty reduction, economic growth and sustainable human resource development. Through its Strategy for TVET (2016-2021), UNESCO endeavours to support the efforts of Member States to enhance the relevance of their TVET systems and to equip all youth and adults with the skills required for employment, decent work, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning, and to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a whole. UNESCO Bangkok, in its capacity as the Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, is following this approach to support Member States in strengthening their education and training systems through this project, which consists of three main components:
- In-country technical advice on TVET in two LDCs in Asia-Pacific
- Conceptual clarification and in-depth study on transversal skills in TVET
- Establishment of an information base on Quality Assurance of TVET Qualifications in Asia-Pacific and support to the establishment of the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework.
The project is expected to contribute to the increased relevance of TVET systems and stronger alignment of learning outcomes in TVET with labour market needs of Member States in Asia-Pacific.
- Publication: Review of the Pacific Framework for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (2012-2015). The Review was conducted in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The Review findings were discussed at the 21st consultation meeting of the Pacific Heads of Education Systems (PHES) in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on 20-21 October 2015. The observations and recommendations from this Review are expected to inform the formulation of the new Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF), especially the PEDF TVET outcome, in the upcoming Forum Education Ministers Meeting (FEdMM) 2016.
- Publication: Transversal Skills in TVET: Pedagogies and Assessment. The synthesis report of the 2nd phase of UNESCO Bangkok’s research study on transversal competencies was published in November 2015, and has been/will be shared widely with stakeholders at (upcoming) regional meetings and conferences on TVET (SEAMEO VOCTECH, OECD-GIZ Policy Forum, RECOTVET Regional Policy Dialogue, etc.) The report looks at experiences of teaching and assessing transversal skills in TVET in three countries, namely, Brunei, Thailand and the Republic of Korea.
- Meeting: 1st Expert Meeting on Quality Assurance of Qualifications/Certification in TVET. UNESCO Bangkok in partnership with the Thai Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Ministry of Education, organized the expert meeting on Quality Assurance of Qualifications/Certification in TVET from 8 to 9 October 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting brought together researchers from 12 countries in Asia-Pacific to share experiences of quality assurance in their respective countries and discuss a research framework for the preparation of country studies that will form the basis for the research and the formulation of global quality assurance guidelines. The country studies will be presented, together with the draft guidelines, at the 2nd expert meeting to be held in July 2016.
Promoting South-South Cooperation through Climate Change Education in Asia Pacific Island Developing States
The project under the fund aims to strengthen the capacity of teacher training institutions of Asia Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to deliver Climate Change Education (CCE) for sustainable development at primary and secondary school levels. UNESCO through its Education Unit in the Jakarta Office assists five-targeted member states, Fiji, Tuvalu, Palau, Tonga and Niue, to integrate climate change in their education systems as well as provide technical guidance, training and resources. The success of this project also relies on the support and expertise from the Ministry of Education Malaysia as well as the relevant Malaysian institutions such as Climate Change Institute of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). Through this project, the capacities of SIDS in the Asia Pacific is expected to be elevated whilst fostering regional and inter-regional dialogue on climate change education.
- Carried out a preliminary study and training on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)/CCE in Tonga. Significant learning emerged from this study such as lack of ESD/CCE content knowledge as well as pedagogical content knowledge among teachers and staff of Ministry of Education and Training and lecturers at Tonga Institute of Education.
- Organized a stakeholders meeting to develop a common understanding of the current situation on needs gaps in CCE as well as discuss and share ideas on South-South Cooperation for CCE for SIDS in AP. The meeting brought together representatives from the Ministry of Education of the five-targeted countries in SIDS in AP i.e. Tonga, Fiji, Palau, Tuvalu and Niue as well as representatives from Malaysia, UNESCO Jakarta and Apia.
- Developed the Training Material for CCE for Asia Pacific SIDS based on the needs and gaps analysis of the five targeted SIDS.
- Organized and conducted a four-days Training of Trainers (TOT) in Malaysia for two Ministry of Education personnel responsible for teacher training for CCE in each of these five-targeted countries. The National Commission for UNESCO of these SIDS nominated the ten personnel to attend this four-days training conducted by field practitioners responsible for producing the Training Materials on CCE. This TOT contributed towards increasing the knowledge on climate change and pedagogical techniques to conduct follow-up training on CCE in their home countries.
- Organized and carried out a National Training of Teachers on CCE in Fiji in with NATCOM Fiji for key teachers responsible for CCE. Twenty-six key teachers from cyclone-impacted Lautoka and twenty-five teachers from Suva attended these two batches of training in Fiji. Four Malaysian experts in climate change and pedagogy facilitated the training. Eight key Ministry of Education officials responsible for the training of teachers also attended this training and facilitated the session on Disaster Risk Reduction using Traditional Knowledge, developed through the support of Malaysia Funds-In-Trust. UNESCO Jakarta also provided input on Green School Action Project in Indonesia and psychosocial support for students after a cyclone. This training succeeded in increasing the knowledge and pedagogical capacity for conducting participatory teaching methodology of the participating teachers in CCE.
- Finalized the Training Materials for CCE for Asia Pacific SIDS which is expected to be published in the third quarter of 2016.
- UNESCO Jakarta helps build teachers capacities on CCE in Suva, Fiji
- Climate change curriculum for schools (Fiji Times)
- SDG 13: National training of teachers on CCE in Lautoka, Fiji
- Meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia to Finalize Teacher Training Materials on Climate Change Education for Small Island Developing States in Asia Pacific
- UNESCO Jakarta Office Organizes Stakeholders Meeting on Climate Change Education for Asia Pacific Small Island States
- UNESCO Initiates Malaysia-Funded ESD Activity in Tonga
Strengthening Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for Improved Skill Outcomes in the Asia Pacific Region
Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) needs a fundamental rethinking and transformation to respond to current and
emerging development challenges in a rapidly changing world. To support efforts of Member States to design and implement policies aiming at transforming TVET systems, UNESCO, through this project, aims to
- Promote policy dialogues and exchange of experiences among beneficiary countries on skills development for the future; and
- Broaden the knowledge base on cutting-edge issues in TVET and skills development in Asia-Pacific.
To achieve these objectives, the project has implemented/is implementing the following activities:
- organizing a regional forum as a platform for policy dialogue on TVET;
- reviewing progress in reforming TVET systems in countries in Asia-Pacific; and
- conducting regional research on TVET and skills development issues and challenges
- Conference: Asia-Pacific Conference on Education and Training (ACET). As a follow up to the 3rd International Congress on TVET (Shanghai, 2012) and the World Education Forum (Incheon, 2015), the Asia-Pacific Conference on Education and Training (ACET) was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 3 to 5 August 2015. The Conference was jointly organized by UNESCO and the Ministries of Education and Higher Education of Malaysia, in collaboration with several development partners (GIZ, BRAC, RAVTE, KRIVET, PEARSON and INTEL). ACET brought together representatives of governments, development agencies, academia, the private sector, civil society as well as youth and employer organizations to discuss key issues in technical/ vocational education and training in the Asia-Pacific region. A total of 766 participants, including 47 government representatives from across the region, attended the Conference.
- Conference outcome document: Kuala Lumpur Declaration. ACET culminated in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, a landmark outcome statement endorsed by 27 UNESCO Member States. The Declaration was conceived through a consultative process that included government representatives as well as members from the private sector and civil society. Kuala Lumpur Declaration, outlining 8 action-oriented recommendations for the development of TVET, is expected to set the direction for TVET and skills development in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Publication: Enhancing Relevance in TVET: Review of Progress in the Asia-Pacific since 2012. The Review assesses the progress made by countries in Asia-Pacific in developing their TVET systems since the 3rd International Congress on TVET (Shanghai, 2012). It focuses on relevance of TVET, the first recommendation of the Shanghai Consensus, and is based on a survey conducted among ministries, employers and youth organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. The Review, which formed the basis of the outcome statement from ACET – the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, provides findings and offers recommendations which give an insight into recent developments in TVET in the region.
Asia-Pacific Conference on Education and Training (ACET)
- Background information
- Press release:
- Closing the gap between education and the world of work Philstar
- Agreement on boosting vocational empowerment The Nation
- KL Declaration on TVET development endorsed NST
- ACET 2015: Kuala Lumpur Declaration On TVET Transformation Endorsed BERNAMA
- Malaysia among leaders in vocational, technical training The Star Online
Education for Sustainable Development in the Pacific Island Countries
ER9: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) – Capacities of Member States strengthened to integrate ESD into education and learning, and ESD strengthened in the international policy agenda
As the lead agency for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and with strong working relationships with some Pacific Island countries i.e. Fiji, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu, UNESCO has been approached by these countries to provide additional follow up activities to expand and consolidate the work on ESD in the past few years. Among the areas covered included promoting transmission of national languages, traditional knowledge and intangible cultural heritage, and climate change and disaster risk reduction strategies.
UNESCO Apia which serves as the Cluster Office for the Pacific States is responsible for the organization of the activities within the present project. It works closely with the National Commissions for UNESCO and Ministries of Education to implement the activities in each country.
The activities implemented are in accordance with the priorities identified through workshops conducted in the targeted countries.
Fiji: Finalized Resource Book on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Using Traditional Knowledge by the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts of Fiji and its trial in Year 7-8 classes across 140 Primary Schools. The resource book is expected to assist teachers in teaching students about disaster risk reduction and climate change using local, indigenous/traditional knowledge so that they are able to respond to changes in the environment or when they are faced with natural disasters. Further assistance will be provided by UNESCO to organize a workshop in June 2016 for teachers to learn how to effectively use the Resource Book in the classrooms.
Palau: Completion of a Palau Vocabulary and Idiom book aimed at strengthening the ability of Year 9 & 10 students to speak pure Palauan language. The development of this vocabulary book will reinforce correct use of the Palauan language. This will assist in promoting transmission of the Palauan language and sustain their national identities.
Niue: Development of the Numeracy Standards in Vagahau Niuean language and their official launching in March 2016. The numeracy standards are currently used by teachers as a guide in the classroom. These standards are seen as a positive step towards achieving the integration of indigenous language into national curriculum which is aligned with the Niue National Strategic Plan as it identifies Niue culture (Taonga Niue) as one of the priority pillars which targets the promotion, preservation and strengthening of Niuean cultural heritage, language, value and identity.
Tonga: Completed workshop to train teachers and curriculum staff on integration of ESD elements such as cultural knowledge, healthy lifestyles, sustainable livelihoods and climate change into secondary school curriculum in June 2015. The goal of the workshop was to provide secondary school curriculum writers in Tonga with a better and holistic understanding of the concept of ESD and how it could be integrated into the secondary school curriculum to improve the quality of learning as well as to support Tonga’s vision for sustainable development.
Tuvalu: Completed workshop on climate change for primary and secondary school teachers in August 2015. The purpose of the workshop was to support teachers in learning how to use climate change flipcharts and materials which were developed specifically for the Tuvalu context in order to enhance awareness and knowledge on the impact of climate change. UNESCO is planning a follow up workshop, targeting the same group of teachers who attended the workshop in August 2015 while inviting a new group of teachers to be trained on how to effectively use the climate change materials in the classrooms.
Educating for Sustainable Futures through Integration of Values in School-based and Community-based Programmes Targeting Young People
The project focuses on identifying and building pathways for young people to develop their values systems through both school-based and community-based (youth group) activities. It investigates the current state of values education in three pilot countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines) in ASEAN and ways to improve implementation of values education through effective entry points in respective country contexts.
- Organized a methodological design meeting to finalize draft methodology, including interview and observation form and to discuss preliminary ideas on the best approaches/strategies when conducting a national mapping exercise.
- Conducted in-country visit to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Philippines in terms of formal and informal approaches to values education in both school-based and community-based programmes i.e. piloting the research instruments during the visit. Data gathering through the joint focus group interviews specifically provided a much broader understanding in identifying areas that need to be pursued further by the respective country consultant.
- Prepared interim report which illustrates the country situation, interests, recommendations as well as the analysis in terms of values integration programs and projects in the respective countries.
Strengthening STEM Curricula for Girls in Africa and Asia and the Pacific – Phase 1
In order to foster and strengthen institutional capacities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among key stakeholders in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the International Bureau of Education (IBE), as UNESCO’s global Centre of Excellence in curriculum and learning related matters, provides technical assistance to operationalize gender-responsive STEM policies through curriculum, pedagogy and teacher education. In addition, technical support is also being provided through the expertise of the Curriculum Development Division of the Ministry of Education Malaysia, UNESCO Bangkok and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation Regional Centre for Education in Science and Mathematics (SEAMEO RECSAM). This will be achieved through:
- Conducting needs assessment analysis and implementation of the country roadmaps (Cambodia, Kenya, Indonesia and Nigeria)
- Organizing Capacity Development Workshop using a STEM resource pack especially developed to strengthen the country capacities to give effect to STEM policies
- Carrying out field country work to further develop STEM policies at large across levels of the education system
- Discussed findings of situational analysis as well as roadmaps for in-country interventions set up at SEAMEO RECSAM, Penang, Malaysia. The workshop gathered nearly 40 experts in STEM education and related issues, policy planning, curriculum, pedagogy and teacher education from Cambodia, Cameroon, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, UNESCO Bangkok Office and IBE-UNESCO.
- Published the 3rd issue of the IBE In-Progress Reflections series on Current and Critical issues in the Curriculum and Learning, entitled ‘Sharing Malaysian Experience in participation of Girls in STEM Education’. The document explains the successful experience of Malaysia and points outs some of its main clues and developments. This third issue is currently available in English, French and Spanish, and planned to be translated in Arabic.
- Coordinated a national policy dialogue workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Three priority areas were agreed upon to give effect to Cambodia’s new STEM policy (the first adopted in the country).
- Strengthening STEM subjects for school girls
- IBE engages in policy dialogue to involve Cambodian girls and women in STEM education
- Policy dialogue workshop to foster female participation in STEM education
- Sharing Malaysian experience in participation of girls in STEM education through the In-Progress Reflections
- Mainstreaming gender sensitive STEM education into national policies and the curriculum
Improving the Quality of Learning through Enhanced Student Learning Assessment
For the implementation of the activities of the project “Improving the Quality of Learning through Enhanced Student Learning Assessment”, UNESCO Bangkok leverages the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia Pacific (NEQMAP). With an overall aim to improve the quality of learning in the Asia Pacific region, NEQMAP was established by UNESCO Bangkok in 2013 as a regional platform to facilitate networking, information sharing and collaborative work in support of better articulation between assessment, curriculum and pedagogy in countries of the region. The NEQMAP activities focus on capacity development, research and knowledge sharing among network members and other relevant stakeholders. This MFIT funded project is expected to benefit policy makers, researchers, education managers and practitioners and all other stakeholders of education policy in the AP region.
- Completed a systematic review on the impact of large-scale learning assessment on policy and practices in the Asia-Pacific in collaboration with Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). This work was also translated into policy brief (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002354/235469e.pdf) and made publicly available.
- Launched the regional study on “Assessment of Transversal Competencies” with organization of orientation meeting (http://www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=16300) for national researchers in October 2015. The study aims to explore different approaches or practices that countries/jurisdictions of the Asia-Pacific region adopt in assessing transversal competencies (21st century skills), the challenges encountered in the process, the lessons we could draw from the existing practices in the region and recommendations for future directions in this area.
- Launched the regional study on “School Based Assessment (SBA)” with organization of orientation meeting (http://www.unescobkk.org/education/quality-of-education/neqmap/activities-and-events/school-based-assessment-policies-and-practices-in-the-asia-pacific/) for national researchers in February 2016. This study, by focusing on several countries/jurisdictions in the Asia Pacific region as case studies, aims to look into policy environment in relation to SBA, gather information on different practices as well as its usage in improving quality of teaching and learning, identify relevant issues and challenges and provide recommendations for future directions in this area.
Successfully organized two regional capacity development workshops.
- The workshop on “Introduction to Large-Scale Assessments of Learning” was organized in September 2014 in Bangkok. http://www.unescobkk.org/education/quality-of-education/neqmap/activities-and-events/introduction-to-lsla/
- The workshop on “Design and Development of Large-Scale Learning Assessments” in March 2015 in Bangkok. http://www.unescobkk.org/education/quality-of-education/neqmap/activities-and-events/design-and-development-of-lsla/
Established NEQMAP knowledge portal (http://nespap.unescobkk.org/neqmap/) as a part of National Education Systems and Policies in Asia- Pacific (NESPAP), open platform which was set up by UNESCO Bangkok. Since its launch in mid-2015, there has been continuous work towards enriching the content of the portal with additional resources as well as enhancing it from a visual and user-friendliness perspective.
Strengthening the Ministry of Education Leadership in the Implementation of Education Policy and Reforms
During the past 50 years South and East Asia witnessed massive demographic changes, resulting mainly from falling fertility rates and migration. Other trends impacting on the provision of education services include urbanization that has contributed to reduce densities in rural areas, thus increasing the costs of reaching the remaining rural school age population. Counterbalancing these trends have been the massive increases in participation in schooling, most countries in the region achieving universal basic education.
While the education sector has been relatively well served in terms of resource allocation in past decades changes in the populations’ age structure across the region as well as a slowing global economy are likely to contribute to changes in resource allocations. Education may not be treated as generously in the future. At the same time it is important to recognize the institutional challenges associated with reorganizing education service provision. The redeployment of education personnel for example is an issue likely to yield high political costs for any government, and school closures remain difficult as local schools are seen by rural communities as a core component for a viable community life.
For these reasons it is vital for education policy makers and planners to understand the directions and assess the impact of demographic changes, migration and urbanization in their country. This assessment underpins the planning of future education services and resource allocation decisions. The Malaysian Government-UNESCO/IIEP project aims at providing Ministries of Education with an analytical framework and an information base needed to reflect these crucial dimensions in plans and guide education policy, investment decisions and institutional reforms.
Support in Preparation of Bhutan School Education Sector Blueprint
The Royal Government of Bhutan continuously embarked upon numerous initiatives and reforms to improve the teacher quality and create high performing schools. However, due to rise in expectations as well as the general concerns regarding the system’s ability to adequately prepare the young Bhutanese for the challenges ahead, the education system has not only come under increased public scrutiny and debate but also come to acknowledge that there exists a real concern about the overall quality of education system.
Given the nature of the education system and its complexity as a public sector undertaking with multifaceted stakeholders, unless an ambitious and practical yet far-reaching corrective approach is urgently put in place, it is going to take several years, if not decades, for fundamental changes to be felt. It is only through continuous education reforms to improve quality and relevance of learning that national challenges like youth unemployment and economic development can be addressed effectively both in the medium and long-term period. The comprehensive review will provide critical and insightful elements to prepare a time bound Blueprint for a rapid and systematic reform of the education system of the country is expected to further boost the education system improvement.