Premajayantha leads delegation to Asia Pacific Regional Education Minister’s parley

Saturday, 18 June 2022 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Conference in Bangkok focusses on SDG4 – Education 2030 (APREMC II)

The Minister of Education of Sri Lanka Susil Premajayantha led the Sri Lanka delegation to the second Asia-Pacific Regional Education Minister’s Conference (APREMC-II), from 5 to 7 June, in Bangkok.

The conference, held in hybrid mode under the theme of ‘Education Recovery and Transformation towards more Responsive, Relevant and Resilient Education Systems: Accelerating Progress towards SDG 4 – Education 2030’, was attended by Ministers of Education from across Asia at the Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok and was jointly organised by the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok), UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO), and the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA). The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Education of Thailand with the support of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan.

The three-day conference was inaugurated by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn with Minister of Education Treenut Thienthong, Deputy Minister of Education Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, UNESCO Bangkok Office Director Shigeru Aoyagi, UNICEF Office Director Debora Comini, and UNESCO Executive Committee Chairman Tamara Rastovac Siamashvili. UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Stefania Giannini addressed the gathering while UN Secretary-General Envoy on Youth Jayatma Wickramanayake attended virtually.

During the Ministerial roundtable discussions, Minister Susil Premajayantha stated, “With reforms on teaching and learning, the need for curriculum reforms for teachers and students alike are required to equip the teachers for professional development and to empower the learners to have the skills and flexibility required to contribute to changing socio-economic needs.” 

He emphasised that post-COVID-19, education, training, and retraining systems that needed strengthening and secondary level education were made flexible through the establishment of multiple learning and training opportunities for General, Technical and Vocational Education and Training including the recognition of previous learning, validation of skills, career guidance and counselling. He further stated, “Investments are needed to hone out new skills of the 21st century. As of 2020, 42% of the core skills required for a job, have changed. Therefore mapping out what our existing talent is capable of and investing into reskills early, can help take the sting out of disruption.” 

At the end of the conference, the Bangkok Statement – 2022 ‘Towards an effective learning recovery for all and transforming education in Asia-Pacific’ was adopted.

Minister Premajayantha held a bilateral meeting with UNESCO Asia and Pacific Bureau for Education Director Shigeru Aoyagi and explained the prevailing financial crisis in Sri Lanka which followed the COVID-19 pandemic. He spoke of the challenges faced by the education sector and the need to implement digitalisation and smart classrooms. Director Shigeru Aoyagi invited the Minister to the Preparatory meeting of UNESCO to be held in Paris on 28 June. 

Minister Susil Premajayantha also had a bilateral discussion with Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, and exchanged views on enhancing cooperation in the fields of Information and Communications Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation and Research with the UNESCAP.

Ambassador and Permanent Representative C.A. Chaminda I. Colonne, and First Secretary A.W.S. Samanmali of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Bangkok were part of the delegation while Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka Director B.P. Vithanage joined virtually.