In preparation for the 5th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME5), the 1st ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting for the 5th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME5) took place on 10-11 November 2014 in Riga, Latvia.

As the host of the ASEM ME5, Latvia launched an early consultation process with the ASEM member states and stakeholders. Its aims were

  1. to set the agenda of the ASEM ME5;
  2. to determine the focus of the Ministerial debate; &
  3. to identify possible priorities for the post-ASEM ME5 period.

This consultation process took place until the end of September 2014. Views and comments were summarised, analysed and forwarded to the participants of the Senior Officials’ Meeting of the ASEM ME5 to serve as a basis for a discussion.

Areas of further cooperation and flagship initiatives will be defined during the Ministerial Meeting and included in the Conclusions by the Chair of the ASEM ME5. Key topics of the ministerial discussion and the format of ASEM ME5 was later agreed upon during the 1st Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) in Riga on 10-11 November 2014.


With an aim to prepare the 5th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME5) in Riga on 27–28 April, 2015, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia, hosted the 1st Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) in Riga on 10-11 November, 2014.

This was the first event under the incoming Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. At the meeting, 89 participants from 33 countries in Europe and Asia, the ASEM Education Secretariat, the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) as an overall coordinator of the ASEM process were present.

SOM1 delivered a serious contribution towards the preparation of the ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting. The participants agreed on the draft agenda and format of the ASEM ME5 and discussed the potential topics of the Ministerial debate. SOM1 was followed by a 2nd Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) on April 26th, a day before the ministerial event began.

During the group discussions of the SOM1, broad support was expressed to the suggestion of a Two-Pillar system where Pillar 1 is dialogue-oriented to provide a platform for mutual learning; and Pillar 2 is result-oriented covering pilot projects with commitments. A need for a vision document and more active involvement of stakeholders, especially students, rectors and teachers was also supported.

Considering stability of the entire Education Process, the participants suggested to continue the four existing priorities: quality assurance and recognitionengaging business and industry in educationbalanced mobilitylifelong learning including technical and vocational education and training. Majority of the participants noted to stick to the existing priorities, at the same time realizing a need for a stronger focus and/or evaluation. At the same time part of the attendees agreed upon a need for changes, however details are still to be specified, whether the existing cooperation fields should be reshaped or should the scope of cooperation rather become broader. Close cooperation and exchanges between the relevant ministries (Foreign Affairs, Education, Culture, Labour, etc.) was also emphasized for better synergies.