BANGKOK - The Second Phase of the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metric (SEA-PLM) was launched here yesterday in a bid to evaluate and improve the region's education system using a "more culturally appropriate and relevant" assessment tools.
The launching ceremony was through the collaboration of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) and United Nations Children's Fund Regional Office East Asia and the Pacific (UNICEF EAPRO).
Brunei's Minister of Education, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong, education ministers and high officials from four other Southeast Asian countries were also present during the ceremony.
Dr Witaya Jeradechakul, Director of SEAMEO Secretariat, in a welcoming speech said that SEA-PLM is a regional approach for system level monitoring of learner achievements which covers numeracy, literacy and 21st century /global citizenship skills.
Dr Witaya added the initiative was in response to the increasing need for assessments that would not only embrace national conditions but also empower countries in the region to learn from each other.
This will strengthen the technical collaboration on learning assessments and standards across education systems among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
According to the SEAMEO statement, the initiative is the first of its kind to be based on shared ASEAN values and national curriculum frameworks.
Brunei's Permanent Secretary of Core Education Dr Hj Junaidi Hj Abd Rahman presented a brief remark noting that SEA-PLM marked another milestone for Southeast Asia's commitment in assessing student's achievement at primary school level.
"In comparison to other international assessment tools, the SEA-PLM will be more culturally appropriate and relevant in order to better and measure the status of our children's learning. In so doing, we can simultaneously improve our systems of education," said Dr Junaidi.
He also said that participating countries should set target for the achievement of the region.
"I do hope that eventually we will bench mark our achievement with our region. I note this interest as various partners and organisation have shown their interest in supporting this initiative. This clearly indicates that the SEA-PLM is a very worthwhile initiative that we all should embrace," said the permanent secretary.
The Phase II of the project implementation will end next year. Aside from Brunei, other ASEAN countries to implement Phase II of the SEA-PLM are Thailand, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Philippines.
The SEAMEO in a statement said that SEA-PLM addresses issues of regional common concern to ensure quality of education and aims to ensure all children achieve learning outcomes in the early years of primary schooling.