The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) In recognition of the importance of regional co-operation in facilitating development in general and Education, Science and Culture in particular, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) was established to promote regional cooperation for human resource development in Asia. Since 1965, SEAMEO, through its various regional centers,
spread across 10 member countries, has successfully explored the fullest potentials of people in the region through quality and equity in education, preventive health, culture and tradition, training, research, information and communications technology, languages, poverty alleviation, and agricultural natural resources. Today, SEAMEO is not only the oldest chartered intergovernmental organization serving the Southeast Asian region but also the Southeast Asia’s largest, longest existing, and most dependable provider in human resource development. This issue of Digital Learning profiles SEAMEO and its outstanding presence in Southeast Asia.
The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) is an international and intergovernmental organization established in 1965 to promote regional cooperation in education, science, and culture. Its 10 Member Countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR,
Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It embodies 7 Associate Member Countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway; and one Affiliate Member, the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
The SEAMEO Council, the Organization’s governing body, is composed of the 10 ministers of education of the SEAMEO Member Countries. The Council determines the general policies and strategic directions of the organization. The SEAMEO Secretariat, based in Bangkok, Thailand, is the headquarters and executive arm of the Council. SEAMEO Secretariat The SEAMEO Secretariat is the executive arm of the SEAMEO Council and the Headquarters of the Organization. Based in Bangkok, Thailand, the Secretariat is headed by a Director who is the legal and administrative representative of the Organization. The Director is supported by a team of professional staff recruited from member countries and a group of general staff from the host country. The primary functions of
the SEAMEO Secretariat are to:
• execute the instructions and decisions of the SEAMEO Council
• convene the key meetings of the Organization: the Centre Directors Meeting (CDM), the High Officials Meeting (HOM) and the SEAMEO Council Conference (SEAMEC)
• present the recommendations of the SEAMEO Centres from the CDM to the HOM for endorsement of the Council
• liaise between the Council and the SEAMEO Centres
• coordinate activities and facilitate cooperation among SEAMEO Member Countries, SEAMEO Centres, partners and institutions
• develop membership, raise and manage funds, execute public relations, disseminate information, organise special project and develop project proposals on behalf of the Organization.
SEAMEO regional centers
Over the past three decades, SEAMEO has developed 15 specialist institutions in 8 of its 10 Member Countries that provide regional leadership in human resource development and the diverse expertise that they offer in learning, health and environment, and agriculture and natural resources. These centres are closely linked with the educational environment of the country hosting them. Each Centre has its own governing board with a representative from each Member Country. The Regional Centres maintain SEAMEO’s work and spirations to nurture human capacities and explore the fullest potentials of people in the region through quality and equity in education, preventive health, culture and tradition, training, research, information and ommunications technology, languages, poverty lleviation, and agricultural natural resources. Since its inception, the SEAMEO has not only become the oldest chartered intergovernmental organization serving the Southeast Asian region but also the Southeast Asia’s largest, longest existing, and most dependable provider in human resource development. SEAMEO regional centres The SEAMEO has 15 specialist institutions that undertake training and research programs in various fields of education, science and culture. Each Regional Centre has a Governing Board composed of senior education officials from each Member Country. The Governing Board reviews the Centres’ operations and budget and sets their policies and programmes. Programmes of the SEAMEO Secretariat Community Involvement Project – The Secretariat coordinates with the SEAMEO Centres in sharing expertise in education, science and culture with selected schools in SEAMEO Member Countries to improve school systems and to help schools achieve sustainability, focusing on students, teachers, learning facilities, school management and parents’ involvement. Conferences – The Secretariat organises joint seminars and workshops integrating various interests in education, science and culture. Information Dissemination – The Secretariat compiles and updates information about the Organization and coordinates with the entire SEAMEO network and beyond Southeast Asia in information exchange. Internship – Coordinates with organisations and governments from around the world in developing the skills of young people in professional work, especially attaining international work experience. Partnerships – Establishes relations with local, national and international organizations, institutions and individuals with interest in education in Southeast Asia to provide venue for foreign cooperation and educational innovation and excellence. Press Awards – The SEAMEOAustralia Press Award is given annually to print journalists in the region to recognize excellence in the coverage of education; cooperation between the SEAMEO and the Government of Australia and in coordination with the University of Melbourne and its Asia Link Centre. Research Fellowships – The SEAMEO-Jasper Research Award is an annual grant bestowed by the Government of Canada and the SEAMEO for outstanding research conducted by SEAMEO Member Country nationals; provides endowments to support research fellows in their specialisation choice. Study Visits – The secretariat plans and organises with the full cooperation of SEAMEO Member and Associate Member Countries to acquaint and widen the educational and cultural perspectives of people in the region and citizens around the world about Southeast Asia.
The SEAMEO Secretariat convenes three major annual events: The Centre Directors Meeting (CDM) is attended by Directors and Network Coordinators of the SEAMEO Regional Centres. It makes assessments of the activities of the Centres and the Network, plans future SEAMEO activities for further submission to HOM and Council decisions, and discusses with the Secretariat various internal problems and their solutions. CDM is usually held in July. Last year’s CDM was held in July 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The High Officials Meeting (HOM) is held towards the end of the year, usually in November. The Meeting provides for a cooperative study by the high officials of the Ministries of Education of the SEAMEO Member Countries, representatives of the Associate Members, the Centre Directors, Network Coordinators and the Secretariat of the items to be taken up in the Council Conference. It recommends actions to be taken up by the SEAMEO Council Conference on the items of the agenda. The main purpose of the HOM is to assist the Council in expediting its actions on the agenda items. Last year’s 28th HOM was held on 21-24 November 2005 in Phetchaburi, Thailand. The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Council Conference (SEAMEC) is convened in the first quarter of each year. It may meet in an Extraordinary Session. It is attended by Ministers of Education of Member Countries who make up the SEAMEO Council, which is the governing board of the Organization; representatives of Associate Member Countries, Centre and Network Directors and Coordinators, SEAMEO
Secretariat officers, and observers from donor governments, foundations, international organizations and agencies. The 40th SEAMEO Council Conference was held 15-17 March 2005 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Singapore will host the 41st SEAMEC on 21-24 March 2006.