By Pratch Rujivanarom
Thai Education Minister Dr Teerakiat Jareonsettasin formally handed over the SEAMEO presidency to his Indonesian counterpart, declaring that the group provides Southeast Asian countries the chance to strive for regional unity through education.
Since its establishment in 1965, SEAMEO, counting all 10 Southeast Asian nations as members, has been the central platform for educational cooperation in the region. The council presidency is assumed by their education ministers on a rotating two-year basis.
“Indonesia is the biggest country in the region and it’s like the ‘big brother’ for us all,” Teerakiat said. “We look forward to working closely with Indonesia in the future to improve our education system.”
He noted that Southeast Asia is diverse in terms of culture, language and religion, but said unity is achievable through education and by taking a strong stand on the principle of “unity in diversity”.
“The aim of SEAMEO and our main challenge is to tackle the disparity and inequality issue in education and ensure that we provide quality education for all, as per the goal of sustainable development,” Teerakiat said.
Indonesian Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy vowed that SEAMEO efforts on sustainable development via education would continue with the aim of ensuring better livelihoods for everyone.
“We have a plan to secure quality education for all people and to promote lifelong education,” he said. “Indonesia pledges to provide full support to the SEAMEO mission to create a better future for everyone in the region via education.”