KUALA LUMPUR: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik (pix) said members of the South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (Seameo) need to be critical to build the right perspective as its Strategic Plan 2015-2020 is coming to an end next year.

He also encouraged the representatives at the conference to take this opportunity to be forthright and provide a frank evaluation of current policies and programmes.

“We need to be critical in order to build the right perspectives as we come into year 2020, which as I have mentioned before, marks the end of Seameo’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

“I would like to encourage everyone here at this conference to really take this opportunity to be forthright and provide a frank evaluation of our current policies and programmes.

“We need to tap into our collective experiences as a region, our creative and dynamic abilities as individual countries before developing a new strategic plan post 2020,“ he said after officiating the 50th Seameo Council Conference here today.

Earlier, he said the growth of the education sector in Southeast Asia depends on its regional framework and all of the 11 countries in Southeast Asia will work together as a ‘big family’ in harmonising the diverse education system to strengthen the framework despite the education gaps between countries.

“I think rather (than) talk about disparities among country members, we should look into similarities and mutuality among country members and the strength we could leverage on.

“We should embrace the spirit of regionalism and the spirit of one big Asian family .. we should work together based on our strengths because each country has its strengths and to leverage those strengths we should work as big Asian family from now on,“ he said.

Also present was Seameo’s former president and Indonesia’s Education and Cultural Minister, Dr Muhadjir Effendy.

At the event, Maszlee also was appointed as the Seameo President for the 2019-2021 term.

The four- day conference was attended by the Ministers of Education and high-level government education officials and representatives from all 11 Seameo member countries, associate members, affiliate members, Seameo regional centres and strategic partners.

Among country members are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. — Bernama