October drizzles marked the success of SEAMEO CELLL’s second Governing Board Meeting and a regional level workshop on lifelong learning implementation in ASEAN. The back-to-back gatherings were attended by SEAMES, DVV International, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), UNESCO Bangkok, UNESCO Hanoi and 11 SEAMEO countries; this was also the first time in many years any workshop on lifelong learning in the region had welcomed all SEAMEO countries. Important outcomes include a set of recommendations and concrete implementation plans to be submitted to SEAMEO Education Ministers, commitments of support from UIL and great prospects for SEAMEO CELLL as a leading organisation to promote lifelong learning in ASEAN countries.
The second Governing Board Meeting of SEAMEO CELLL was held on 3 October in the Centre’s conference room, newly inaugurated by the Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training. All 11 Governing Board members (GBM) were present, as well as observers from DVV International and UIL; the Indonesia and Singapore GBMs continued their respective role as Chairperson and Chief Rapporteur. In the meeting, SEAMEO CELLL reported the follow-up actions of the first Governing Board Meeting and the Centre’s operation in the last fiscal year 15/16, followed by the presentation of proposed budget and programmes for fiscal year 16/17, central among which was the Centre’s flagship project Towards an ASEAN Lifelong Learning Agenda. The Centre received approval and valuable suggestions from the GBMs; in addition, UIL confirmed their support for the Centre to develop lifelong learning in Southeast Asia. The meeting ended with a decision on next year’s venue and an expression of gratitude from the GBMs to DVV International and UIL for their continuing support.
On the next two days SEAMEO CELLL held an expert meeting in the form of a workshop where lifelong learning experts from 11 ASEAN countries each presented best policies and practices in their country (4 October), based on which they then discussed how to further implement lifelong learning in the region (5 October); the meeting is a crucial part of the Centre’s flagship project Towards an ASEAN Lifelong Learning Agenda. The first day of the meeting kicked off with an overview of the lifelong learning concept presented by Prof. Arne Carlsen, Director of UIL, and an in-depth explanation of SEAMEO CELLL’s flagship project; the participants proceeded to report their country’s successes and challenges in lifelong learning provision. Prof. Heribert Hinzen, the consultant for SEAMEO CELLL’s flagship project, concluded the day with his preliminary synthesis of national reports, from which he drew policy recommendations that were also congruent with the outcomes of the Hanoi 2013 Seminar on National Policy Frameworks for Lifelong Learning in the ASEAN Countries. These recommendations and more importantly how to implement them became the topic for group discussion on the second day. Many concrete and useful ideas were raised, including tax incentives for businesses that contribute to non-formal and informal education, promotional activities for lifelong learning or multi-sectoral and multi-level policy dialogues about lifelong learning. Day 2 culminated in a set of recommendations and strategic actions to implement lifelong learning in ASEAN which was adopted by the present experts and GBMs, as well as a commitment statement from UIL that they would continue to support SEAMEO CELLL and ASEAN in lifelong learning.