Vietnam always attaches importance to intensifying its participation and contributions to international organisations and forums, including the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO), said President Truong Tan Sang.

Sang made the remarks at his opening speech to the 47th conference of SEAMEO Council that opened in Hanoi on March 20.

As Chair of the SEAMEO Council this year, Vietnam will do its utmost together with other member countries to fulfil the signed cooperation programmes of the organisation, for development and prosperity of each member country, and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in Southeast Asia and the world, he affirmed.

The event is taking place at a time when the region and the world are experiencing significant changes in politics, security, economics, culture and social affairs, offering both opportunities and challenges, the State leader said.

He highlighted a policy forum themed, “Lifelong Learning: Vision and Policy”, which he said is also an important orientation in the education-training development strategy of each country.

Over the past years, the State and Government of Vietnam has considered education-training to be a top priority, Sang said, noting the country’s heavy investment in human resources and putting forth mechanisms and policies for the sector.

Those efforts paid off with the quality of education improving significantly, and social and gender equality in education recording encouraging achievements, the leader said.

In 2000, Vietnam fulfilled the UN Millennium Development Goal of illiteracy eradication and universal primacy education ahead of schedule.

The country aims to have an advanced education sector by 2020, which can meet industrialisation, modernisation and international integration requirements, Sang said.

He thanked the support and cooperation of other country members to help Vietnam assume the role of SEAMEO Council Chair and fulfilling the country’s education goals.

The event gathered 200 delegates from 18 countries, including education ministers, high-level government education officials and representatives from international organisations, from 11 SEAMEO member states, associate members, affiliate organisations, regional centres and development partners.

High on the agenda of the two-day conference are discussions on accelerating the “Education for All” programme and post-2015 development and education in Southeast Asia .

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

The United Kingdom became the eighth associate member of the organisation in 2013.-VNA