Education ministers presented a wide range of solutions to narrow the education gap at the 47th conference of the Southeast Asian Minister of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) that concluded in Hanoi on March 21.

The ministers agreed to uphold and respect the education characteristics of each country, said Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan.

Training teachers, designing a common teaching programme, ensuring practical skills and solving issues related to English are among measures the ministers reached consensus on to narrow the education gap.

According to the Vietnamese minister, the conference realised its set targets and served as a forum for the participants to discuss regional policies and initiatives in science, education and culture.

It adopted a resolution and admitted the United Kingdom as the eighth associate member of the organisation.

The ministers signed the SEAMEO Statement on Strategic Collaboration towards Regional Development, along with legal documents of the SEAMEO Centre for Lifelong Learning.

SEAMEO College, a project funded by the Asian Development Bank, was also launched.

High on the agenda of the two-day conference was a policy forum themed “Lifelong Learning: Policy and Vision”, which offered a chance for representatives of Southeast Asian and European countries to share experiences in lifelong learning and how to build a learning society.

Potential for cooperation in this field and orientations for lifelong learning development in Southeast Asia were also discussed at the forum.

Apart from the building of a learning society in Southeast Asia, participants also focused their discussion on SEAMEO member countries’ joint efforts in building the ASEAN Community by 2015, Luan said.

As SEAMEO Council Chair, Vietnam established the SEAMEO regional centre in Ho Chi Minh City , which will deal with issues regarding lifelong learning and the building of a learning society in Vietnam while contributing to SEAMEO activities, the minister noted.

The event gathered 200 delegates from 18 countries, including education ministers, high-level government education officials and representatives from international organisations.

Established in 1965, SEAMEO has become the largest international organisation in Southeast Asia in education, science and cultural cooperation.-VNA