ASEAN Ministers of Education met UK government officials and education specialists to discuss education challenges following COVID-19.

The Recover learning and rebuild education in the ASEAN region roundtable is co-hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat; the Ministry of Education and Training, Viet Nam; British Expertise International (BEI), Department for International Trade in the United Kingdom (DIT); and the Cambridge Partnership for Education.

Following the event, the ASEAN Secretariat and Cambridge will publish a policy brief to share recommendations arising from the discussion.

Two years after COVID-19 related school closures first affected the quality of education for more than 152 million children in Southeast Asia, Ministers of Education and representatives from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam will discuss:

  • Learning loss and accelerated learning
  • Access to education
  • Building resilience in education systems.

Sir Steve Smith, the UK government’s international education champion, will open the event. Education Development Trust, Palladium and Cambridge Education Mott Macdonald, members of the BEI Education Working Group, will support panel discussions.

According to Jane Mann, Managing Director, Cambridge Partnership for Education,

“COVID-19 was not the first time that Southeast Asia had to handle education disruption, and in many cases governments and communities have responded to this pandemic with speed and strength.’’

“We know that school closures have escalated existing education challenges – such as the learning divide – but, we now have an opportunity to escalate our efforts, too. We must harness current momentum to focus on effective long-term reforms that help achieve the sustainable development agenda. Our roundtable will explore how we can create cross-regional partnerships to build quality, effective and resilient education systems that work for all children.”

Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dato Lim Jock Hoi also highlighted that in going forward, the blending of digital technologies with traditional offline approaches to learning would be critical. He said, “It is key for the ASEAN education sector to strike a balance between the appropriate use of digital learning, while retaining the best features of traditional education.” 

This roundtable will build on the BEI Education Working Group briefing paper: Recover Learning, Rebuild Education published last year to outline sustainable, systemic interventions to respond to COVID-19 education challenges. Supporting Information:

Contact: Megan Thomas, PR & Communications Manager, Cambridge Partnership for Education ([email protected])

Cambridge Partnership for Education

Part of the University of Cambridge Partnership for Education works with governments, ministries of education and international development organisations to improve the quality of education systems. The Partnership combines expertise from Cambridge University Press & Assessment to work on education from every angle – from systems analysis and policy recommendations to curriculum to teacher training. They seek to co-design evidence-based solutions with partners which effect sustainable change, supporting more than 20 million learners around the world to reach their goals and find their place in a modern, inclusive society. 

The Department for International Trade, UK

The Department for International Trade secures UK and global prosperity by promoting and financing international trade and investment, and championing free trade. We are responsible for delivering 4 priority outcomes:

Secure world-class free trade agreements and reduce market access barriers, ensuring that consumers and businesses can benefit from both.
Encourage economic growth and a green industrial revolution across all parts of the UK through attracting and retaining inward investment.
Support UK business to take full advantage of trade opportunities, including those arising from delivering free trade agreements, facilitating UK exports.
Champion the rules-based international trading system and operate the UK’s new trading system, including protecting UK businesses from unfair trade practices.

Ministry of Education and Training Viet Nam

The Ministry of Education and Training is a government agency performing the function of State management of preschool education, general education, intermediate pedagogical education, college-level pedagogical education, higher education and other educational institutions regarding: educational goals, programs, content; regulations on examination, enrolment and diplomas and certificates; development of teachers and education managers; school facilities and equipment; quality control and accreditation of education quality; State management of non-business public services within the Ministry’s state management scope.­

ASEAN Secretariat

The Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam then joined on 7 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN. The aims set out in the ASEAN Declaration include to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region.

British Expertise International

British Expertise International is a unique business development organisation dedicated to supporting their members to explore, assess and win business opportunities globally in all forms of infrastructure, capacity building and international development. BEI’s particular focus is the dynamic and growing markets of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and South East Europe.

BEI members range from some of the UK’s largest companies, to some of the smallest. They work across a range of sectors from infrastructure to education, health and international development, but all share a common goal of exporting the best of UK expertise in professional services.

Within the membership of BEI there are a number of organisations who provide education services. These members are part of the BEI Education Working Group, which aims to incubate collaborative approaches and facilitate information sharing.

They offer a wide range of expertise, knowledge and products designed to bring the best of UK-based expertise in teaching and learning, support services, content creation, consultancy, training and capacity building to the international market.

Education Development Trust

Education Development Trust is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to provide evidence- based sustainable solutions that transform lives through education. They do this by improving school systems at scale, delivering reform programmes to build the capacity of teachers, school leaders and supervisors. They provide strategic, technical consultancy direct for education Ministries or donors, including support through framework contracts for DFID, UNICEF, NORAD and the EU. In all of their work, they make ‘best global practice local’, combining understanding of what works around the world with a deep knowledge of the local context.


Palladium partner with industry, governments, education systems, and the private sector to improve individual learning outcomes and achieve sustainable economic growth through a skilled, educated, and competitive workforce. Our work spans early childhood education, primary and secondary school, university education, and vocational and technical training.

Cambridge Education, Mott Macdonald

Cambridge Education believes in the power of education to transform lives. For over 40 years, they have worked to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to improve their lives through access to high quality education, especially the most disadvantaged, including girls and those with disabilities. Cambridge Education does this by providing governments and clients with access to the best expertise available and by actively managing their programmes and projects to ensure that governments, schools and teachers have the tools to improve learning outcomes and build better futures. Currently, this involves supporting education ministries across Africa and Asia reach children through radio, TV, print and digital to keep them safe and to keep them learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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