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The mission of the Education Policy and Reform (EPR) Unit is to promote policies and strategies that will improve education systems in countries of the Asia-Pacific region. In so doing, EPR works enhance the sector-wide coherence of education policy design with an explicit focus on cross-cutting issues such as improving the quality and relevance of learning and reaching marginalized populations.

EPR remains charged with UNESCO’s regional coordination and support in sector-wide policy analysis, management and finance issues, while upholding the Organization’s focus on quality learning and relevance in education, including in the areas that constitute the crossroads of learning (secondary education) and the crossroads of life (skills development through formal TVET). 

EPR Areas of Focus

Education Research and Foresight

Today's world has evolved greatly since the 2000 World Education Forum in Dakar and the inception of the Millennium Development Goals and is facing multi-facetted and rapid changes, challenges and opportunities, which all have implications for education. While strengthening our efforts to meeting internationally agreed commitments made, there is a need to start the process of looking beyond EFA and the MDGs. Therefore, and within the overall function of UNESCO as a laboratory of ideas, UNESCO has started to facilitate the process of developing a new vision for education beyond 2015, while looking at the broader connections between education and societal development. UNESCO Bangkok, serving as the Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, will stimulate the shaping of a renewed regional education agenda while enriching global thinking about the international education agenda beyond 2015. 

Policy and Mangement

Education sector policy and management programme aims to promote and facilitate evidence-based policy formulation, results-based management and system-wide reform of the education sector. This is achieved through (i) analytical work on overarching and/or cross-cutting issues influencing system performance, (ii) development of tools for policy analysis, planning and management to help address the need for system coherence, policy implementation effectiveness and quality learning, (iii) in-country support for education reforms and strategic planning and (iv) documentation and knowledge sharing of country experiences and practices to facilitate cross-country comparison and to trigger policy discussions .

Quality of Education

Quality of education, which has until recently been relatively neglected in the international discourse, is gaining greater attention in many Member States. This follows increased access to education at all levels and yet a recognition of the worrying fact that many learners complete primary education without having acquired even basic literacy and numeracy skills. A diverse policy challenge, this area of work covers a wide range of policy domains, including curriculum, pedagogy, teacher policies and particularly assessment (of both cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes).

Secondary Education

With the successful expansion of primary schooling in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region, there is increased focus on further expanding enrolments at the secondary level. Ensuring that secondary education is relevant, and that it equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to actively participate in society, is thus becoming ever more important. Boosting educational attainment at this level is seen not only as supportive of socioeconomic development, but also crucial to building young people's resilience in an increasingly uncertain labour market and to developing their ability to be responsible and engaged members of society. Ensuring equitable access to quality secondary education (including facilitating transition from primary and between lower and upper secondary), improving management and financing and enhancing the linkages with tertiary and technical and vocational education are therefore at the forefront of this area of work.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training

The purpose of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is to provide its participants with practical knowledge and skills which are required by the world of work. Therefore the scope and delivery systems of TVET tend to vary from country to country to reflect specific national socio-economic situations. Effective TVET policy, as such, must encompass various policy areas and be sufficiently flexible to ensure the successful transition of its participants from learning to work.