Focus on new technologies, better skills and jobs at the meeting of Asian and European education ministers

21 April 2015

Riga, 21 April 2015. Asian and European education ministers and senior officials – more than 50 delegations – will come together on 27–28 April at the 5th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEMME5) at the Latvian National Library. With an overarching theme “ASEM Education Collaboration for Results” the ministers from both regions will explore ways how to employ education for better skills and jobs, as well as how to use the full potential of new learning technologies. The current advancements of the ASEM education collaboration and the work programme for the next two years will be evaluated.

Founded in 1996, ASEM or the Asia-Europe Meeting has proven to be the key platform for informal dialogue and collaboration between Asia and Europe. Realising the importance of education as investment in human resources, in 2008 the ASEM Education Process was launched, allowing an intensive exchange of best practices in education and training. With an aim to set the political agenda for the upcoming work-cycle, the Education Ministers’ Meeting is organised every two years. It brings together Ministers for Education from Asia and Europe, high-level representatives of the European Commission and Secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), international non-governmental organisations representing European and Asian universities and students as well as other stakeholders.

“Despite vast distances between the two regions, the ASEM Education Process has fostered immensely the exchange of people, ideas and values. When there’s a governmental dialogue in place, tangible and result–oriented activities can boost being a benefit for both — Asia and Europe. Nearly any higher education institution in any member state could list their benefits from this collaboration, whether we are talking about education quality assurance and recognition or joint academic projects. We already know at this point about a few new bilateral agreements which will be signed between the member states during the ASEMME5,” speaking of the upcoming event, said the host – Latvian Minister for Education and Science Ms Mārīte Seile.

The Ministers’ Meeting consists of two plenary sessions and a working breakfast, an informal political–level discussion. Considering the current global developments and their impact on education policies around the world, the topics to be addressed cover development of skills for better employability and the contribution of the ASEM education cooperation to it, as well as the rapid technological changes and new learning technologies in education and their impact on strengthening the ASEM education cooperation. Participants of the working breakfast will discuss the future perspectives, the main challenges, opportunities and expected outcomes of this collaboration from a political point of view. In parallel to the working breakfast, the results of existing initiatives and new initiatives of the ASEM Education Process will be presented, all of them being a valuable tool, which contributes to result-oriented cooperation.

At the end of the ASEMME5, the Chair’s Conclusions will be adopted thus setting the priorities of the work-cycle to come and encouraging joint actions in the future. At the end of the meeting Latvia will hand over the Chair’s Conclusions to the Republic of Korea, the host of the 6th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting to be held in 2017.

The next year ASEM will mark the 20th anniversary. The number of its members has grown from 28 to 53 partners (51 states in Asia and Europe and two international organisations). The ASEMME5 will be the first ASEM event where the most recent member states —Croatia and Kazakhstan, will also participate.

With a list of ASEM-related events taking place one after another, the end of April marks an ASEM week in Riga. On 29 April, following the ASEMME5 Education Ministers’ Meeting, Erasmus + Information Day will be held at the University of Latvia. At the same time, the 3rd ASEM Transport Ministers’ Meeting (ASEMTM3), organised by the Latvian Ministry of Transport, will take place on 29–30 April.