Education Summit Introduces New ‘Aseanness’ Curriculum
Yogyakarta. Intergovernmental ties between member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations may be strong, but more needs to be done to improve people-to-people links, a top official says.
Muhammad Nuh, the education and culture minister, said on Wednesday that he and his regional counterparts believed that schools were the best place to start in boosting community awareness and sense of belonging among Asean residents.
“Thus, today we launch the Asean curriculum sourcebook for our students in Asean,” Nuh said.
The book will be used as a teaching resource for primary and secondary schools to foster an outward-looking, stable, peaceful and prosperous Asean community, the minister said.
Teachers in primary and secondary schools are expected to refer to the book when teaching international or regional issues. Copies will be distributed to schools in all 10 Asean member states, and the book’s content will also be uploaded to the websites of each country’s education ministry for teachers to access.
The book launch came at the East Asia Summit Education Ministers Meeting taking place in Yogyakarta.
Nuh said the book was hoped to “build a strong ‘Aseanness’ among students.”
“They are going to learn many things, including about Asean’s identity and values,” he said.
He added that Asean, with a combined population of 600 million, or about 9 percent of the global population, had enormous potential to lead the international community, but required stronger bonds between its people.
“We have worked to strengthen Asean through politics and economics. But having our people share the same concerns is also important. We have to feel that we are brothers with the Philippines, Brunei et cetera,” Nuh said.
Also speaking at the event was Abu Bakar Apong, the education minister of Brunei, who said the sourcebook had been in the works for some time and was “a realization of our efforts” to raise greater awareness about Asean among the bloc’s young people.
The sourcebook addresses key points, including delving into the structure of Asean, its membership, purposes, approach and achievements.
It also addresses the questions of how to value identity and diversity, connect global and local issues, promote equality and justice and work together for a sustainable future.
Apong said that previous efforts to promote Asean awareness to students was done through student visitation programs. With the launch of the new book, he went on, the campaign would be taken to the next level.
The three-day East Asia Summit Education Ministers Meeting concludes today with a meeting featuring all the participating ministers and top education officials from the Asean member states and several other countries in the region.