Vietnam calls on joint efforts of ASEAN to maintain learning activities hinh anh 1At the event (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has called on all ASEAN countries to work together to build and implement proper and effective education policies, thus restoring and maintaining the continuity of learning activities, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam stated at the opening of the 12th ASEAN Education Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi on October 13.

Over the past two years, COVID-19 has affected at least 180 million children and adolescents in ASEAN countries, while 35 million students were unable to attend schools due to closures.

In the 18 months leading to May 2022, schools had to close 136 days on average, negatively impacting the physical and mental development of students in the region, he noted, stressing that the consequence of the pandemic may become more serious if countries do not act immediately.

He said he hopes the region will be ready to respond to future challenges that may seriously harm and interrupt studies by building a more flexible and self-reliant education system.

Deputy PM Dam said that the 680 million-strong ASEAN region, with the fifth largest economy in the world, has defined education as a top priority and one of the three goals stated in the ASEAN Charter.

In Vietnam, considering education is the top national policy, the country spends at least 20% of its budget on education each year, he added.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son said that with the motto of “education should be based on principle of cooperation, collaboration and solidarity”, Vietnam has chosen the theme "Joint efforts to reimagine learning and building resilience of education systems in ASEAN and beyond in the new context" for its working tenure as the Chair of the ASEAN education cooperation.

In the position as chair in 2022-2023, Vietnam has identified a number of priorities, focusing on taking care of and protecting learners’ mental health, enhancing education on environmental protection and climate change, ensuring access to equitable and quality education for learners, especially disadvantaged groups, promoting comprehensive digital transformation and ensuring cyber safety for learners, and promoting innovation in higher education to meet development requirements.

Over the past year, these priorities have been realised, he said, pledging that Vietnam will exert every effort to implement the priorities and major orientations of ASEAN education.

At the event, ASEAN education ministers shared education and training development in their respective countries. They also updated the implementation of the ASEAN action plan for 2021-2025.

They agreed on the necessity of safely reopening schools and increasing the adaptability of the education system in ASEAN against future pandemics, disasters and emergencies. The need for digital transformation in the education systems in ASEAN and ensuring the mental health and welfare of students were also highlighted at the summit.

On October 14, Minister Son will chair the sixth ASEAN+3 Education Minister Meeting and the sixth ASEAN-EAS Education Summit, which will gather officials from ASEAN countries, the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and India./.