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China-ASEAN education ministers hold online conference

The Third China-ASEAN Education Ministers Roundtable Conference was held online on August 23. China’s Education Minister Huai Jinpeng chaired the conference, with Secretary-General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi and education ministers from the ASEAN countries attending.

Huai noted that the current roundtable is a result of the Special Summit Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations on November 22, 2021. He said China is willing to join hands with the ASEAN countries to develop a vision of educational cooperation for 2030 and move toward a more innovative, inclusive and sustainable educational partnership between the two sides. He said he hoped that strengthened regional cooperation would catalyze global education transformation, thus speeding up progress in achieving the Education 2030 Agenda in the post-COVID-19 era.

He then shared China’s plan for furthering the bilateral strategic partnership in four areas.

First, China hopes to work with ASEAN to improve the quality of human resources. Specifically, both sides should promote mutual recognition of qualifications in engineering education, facilitate the integration of industry and education, and share good practices in training engineers and technicians.

Second, China will work with ASEAN to increase cross-border student flows in the region so they can return to pre-pandemic levels and achieve sustainable and resilient growth.

Third, more government-led and multi-actor institutional mechanisms will be needed, including a high-level annual meeting of education ministers between the two sides, in order to support all-round regional cooperation and exchange in the education field.

Fourth, China will increase cooperation with ASEAN to promote digital education. Potential areas for cooperation in this regard include holding digital education forums, establishing related alliances, sharing quality digital education resources, and promoting the formulation of standards for digital education and cyberspace governance.

Education ministers from the ASEAN countries shared practices for boosting educational quality, equity, transformation and digitalization in their respective countries. They also expressed their willingness to enhance educational cooperation with China.

The conference identified focus areas for bilateral educational cooperation in the next stage and also generated the document Building a Friendly Homeland: Vision and Actions for China-ASEAN Educational Cooperation and Development (2020-2030), which summarized the results of the conference.