Concept note of the conference 10-11 July 2020 Bangkok, Thailand
Everyone has the right to learn. Quality education requires an inclusive and equitable environment, collaborative leadership, and well-trained, motivated teachers and teaching facilitators. Additionally, results must be checked, and appropriate changes should be incorporated in teaching and the curriculum.
Children and adolescents are excluded from education for many reasons. Poverty is still a major hurdle: children from the poorest households are almost five times more likely to be out of primary school that those from the richest. Other groups frequently deprived of education are children with disabilities, children from ethnic
minorities, and girls. Evidence indicates that gender parity in primary education exists in just two-thirds of all nations. Negative gender standards affect boys as well. Geography is another major factor. Rural children miss primary school at double the rate of children from cities, and in war-torn areas, 27 million children are excluded.
While it is important to ensure that these children have equal access to learning, we must also help them to acquire life skills in order to increase their future chances of financial and career success, improve their health and increase their civic engagement.
The Education for All initiative and the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4): Education 2030 agenda show that the global community strives to promote the universal rights to education. Equity is at the core of the SDGs, with Target 4.5 specifically aiming to “eliminate gender disparities and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.” However, an abundance of literature suggests that more than 258 million primary to upper-secondary school-aged children still remain out of school due to political, economic, social and cultural barriers. This number includes 59 million children primary school age, 62 million of lower secondary school age and 138 million of upper secondary age.
Moreover, progress in decreasing the number of OOSC around the world, including Asia, has stagnated over the past decade. In 2000, worldwide, over 376 million learners were out of school. This number fell steadily until 2010. However, according to the recent analysis conducted by the World Inequality Database on Education, in 39 Out of 99 countries, fewer than 50% of the poorest children have completed primary school and over 50% of young people in 58 out of 133 countries have not completed upper secondary school. It also shows that, in 30 out 134 countries, few than 90 females for every 100 males completed lower secondary school while the reverse gender gap is found in other 17 countries.
Recognizing this problem, the ASEAN community has been working together proactively to promote equity and inclusion in education since 2016. Two recent initiatives – the ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Education for Out-of-School Children and Youth (OOSCY) and the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) – have shown its commitment to combat the issue of inequity and exclusion in education as follows:
The ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Education for OOSCY
Following Leaders’ adoption of the Declaration in September 2016, ASEAN Member States, under the leadership of the Ministry of Education of Thailand, established a working group in February 2019 to develop regional strategies and projects and to monitor the Declaration’s implementation. Under the guiding framework of the working group, the ASEAN Conference on Out-of-School Children and Youth (OOSCY) was held, in Bangkok, under the theme “No one left behind: Advancing Partnership towards a Learning, Inclusive, and Sustainable Community”. This event aimed to be a sharing platform of the current situation of OOSCY in ASEAN and served as an opportunity’s area for stakeholders to learn of good practices on how to cope with OOSCY situation in their respective country.
By adopting to this Declaration, the ASEAN Member States has reaffirmed the importance of education for children and youth and committed themselves to ensure that learning will be strengthen, in accordance with the domestic laws and policies of ASEAN Member States, for every child and youth in the region.
The EEF of Thailand, which is supervised by the Prime Minister, was established under the Equitable Education Act of 2018. The objective of the Act is to provide financial support for children and youth who are in the greatest need, reduce educational inequality by forming partnerships with different groups and conduct systematic research to support and develop teachers’ effectiveness. The EEF is governed by the Board of Governance, which is appointed by the cabinet and has a multi-sectoral structure. The board members include five ministries (education, finance, social development/human security, interior and public health) and six independent experts from various backgrounds (academic, the private sector, civil society).
Many children lack educational opportunities because their needs are not fully reflected in policy planning and budgeting. The experiences and lessons from the Act and the EEF can be invaluable for other countries striving to make positive changes in the lives of disadvantaged children. The Act and EEF, which were initiated by the Government of Thailand, are the first of their kind in the world. Regional in Southeast Asia and national actors in Thailand would like to work with other countries and regions to replicate this meaningful initiative.
As SDG4 is ramped up, the EEF, with support of UNESCO Bangkok, UNICEF, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Ministry of Interior and Save the Children[AF1], has proposed the First International Conference on Equitable Education (All for Education Conference), where participants – researchers, technical experts, practitioners, policy-level decision makers and key development organizations – can more fully explore key educational issues related to disadvantaged children and discuss existing and potential solutions. The conference will also introduce EEF developments and its area-focused strategy, explore how innovation, including technology, can spearhead change, and seek partnerships to promote the “no one left behind” agenda.
In a broader context, this All for Education Conference is also expected to provide strategic inputs, case studies and key policy recommendations to the 2nd Asia Pacific Regional Education Ministers Conference (APREMC-II)
which will be held later in 2020 in Thailand. In the latter conference, the Ministers, the National SDG4 Coordinators as well as partners, will critically review the progress made towards SDG4-Education 2030 targets in the Asia Pacific region since 2015, and examines innovative ways to accelerate national efforts towards the ‘Decade of Action: 2020-2030’.
Goal of the conference
To promote equity-based basic education for educationally underserved children
This goal will be achieved through:
Barriers to resolving the issue of inequity and exclusion in various aspects of education (e.g., data, financing, delivery mechanism, system-strengthening, capacity development) and policy- and ground-level practices will be shared. In addition, how technology can support resolving the issue will be explored.
Building on discussions and suggestions during the conference, participants will be offered an opportunity to network and join the EEF’s initiative.
- Enhanced understanding of equitable education, barriers, challenges and opportunities among government officials, teachers and various development partners
- Improved relevant knowledge and expertise both regionally and globally
- Strengthened partnerships to promote equity in education among governments, international agencies and the private sector
- A set of key policy recommendations accompanied with a range of innovative approaches/case studies as inputs to the Second Asia Pacific Regional Education Ministers Conference (APREMC-II)
|July 10, 2020||July 11, 2020|
- All sessions will be broadcast LIVE Online via afe2020.eef.or.th
- Opening Ceremony will be Onsite and On Air via ThaiPBS TV Channel, Plenary and Pararell sessions will be Online
Date and Venue
10-11 July 2020
|Secretariat of the Conference||E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org|
 UNICEF. Information accessed in February 2020.
 UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). Data from 2018.
 UIS. (September 2019). New Methodology Shows that 258 Million Children, Adolescents and Youth are Out of School. UIS Fact Sheet No. 56.
[AF1]The wording needs to be further discussed and agreed among the partners, in reference to the signatories of the invitation letter, use of logo etc.