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Education Research and Foresight

Towards EFA 2015 and Beyond - Shaping a New Vision for Education (9-11 May 2012)


Background and objectives

UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, in co-operation with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO and UNICEF Regional Offices, held a high level regional expert meeting on the post-2015 education agenda for the region (Bangkok, 9-11 May 2011). The meeting brought together renowned regional experts and professionals in education policy and research. 

The overall aim of the meeting was to initiate discussions on developing a new vision for education in the region and beyond and create partnerships and networks which will work jointly with UNESCO in pursuit of this goal. It also identified research and analytical work to be undertaken and developed recommendations on the way forward for a regional post-2015 education agenda.

Specifically, the objectives of the meeting were to: 

  • share information on the region’s progress under the EFA agenda and identify areas for future focus; 
  • take stock of global and regional processes of consultation, dialogue and research initiated to support the development of a post-2015 education agenda;
  • discuss emerging regional development trends and identify their implications for education and learning within Asia and the Pacific; 
  • examine the relevance of the four pillars of learning[1] as a means of conceptualizing education in light of the changes underway; and
  • formulate recommendations on the way forward towards the identification of the regional education priorities, including on areas of analytical work and forward-looking research and the role and contribution of regional research and development partners in this process. 

In meeting identified several key messages. Some are presented below, with further finalised recommendations forthcoming: 

 Key Messages:


1)      EFA remains an unfinished agenda in the region. Meeting the EFA goals requires strengthened efforts to address persistent disparities in the region;

2)      EFA is of continued relevance, yet there is need to go beyond current EFA goals.  Learning, equity and quality of education, including a focus on teachers and skills development must feature prominently in any future education development agenda;

3)      Broader socio-economic development and challenges must also be clearly reflected in discussions on the future of education, and;

4)      There must be both an education-specific development agenda beyond 2015 and explicit reference to education in all global agendas, given the fundamental role of education in advancing human development. 


Summary outcomes of the meeting can be found here. As a follow up to the meeting, further reflections, debates and work will be undertaken, in association with a wide array of partners to ensure that the development of the post-2015 education agenda is enriched by a range of experience, knowledge and ideas.

Key documents

Summary outcomes

Meeting agenda

Meeting brochure (including biographies and key background documents)

List of participants

Background note for the meeting

Panel 1 - Economic trends and challenges - Background paper

Panel 2 - Demographic trends and challenges - Background paper

Panel 3 - Socio-cultural trends and challenges - Background paper

Panel 4 - Policy trends and challenges - Background paper

Interview with Mr Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok





Mr Gwang-Jo Kim
Director, UNESCO Bangkok

Opening speech

Mr Utak Chung
Assistant Secretary General, Korean National Commission for UNESCO

Opening remarks

Session I - EFA: Overview of the present situation 

Mr Gwang-Jo Kim
Director, UNESCO Bangkok

Where do we stand on EFA and the key development gaps?

Mr Festo Kavishe 
Deputy Regional Director, UNICEF Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific

Progress gaps in EFA

Mr Abdul Hakeem 
Chief, Asia-Pacific Programme for Education for All, UNESCO Bangkok

Action towards 2015 and EFA review

Ms Lieke van de Wiel
Regional Education Adviser, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia

Towards EFA and beyond

Session II - Overview of global and regional initiatives to define a new vision for education 

Ms Mae Chu Chang
Head of Education, World Bank Indonesia

The World Bank and education

Mr Jouko Sarvi
Chair, Education Sector Committee, Asian Development Bank

ADB's initiatives and strategies for a new vision of education development and cooperation

Mr Tae-Wan Kim
President, Korean Education Development Institute

Education for a better world

Mr Nipon Poapongsakorn 
President, Thailand Development Research Institute

Quality of the Thai workforce: evidence and linkages between schools and the labour market

Mr R. Govinda
Vice-Chancellor, National University of Educational Planning and Administration

Education for all beyond 2015: Towards a new education policy agenda

Ms Marion Meiers 
Senior Researcher, Australian Council for Educational Research

Australian Council for Educational Research in the international context

Mr Biplove Choudhary 
UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre

Reflections on the MDGs: Path to 2015 and the evolving development agenda beyond 2015

Mr Sobhi Tawil 
Senior Programme Specialist, Education Research and Foresight, UNESCO Paris

Rethinking educational paradigms
(delivered on Day 2)


Session III - Emerging development trends in the Asia-Pacific region and implications for education policy

Panel I - Economic trends and opportunities

Mr Gwang-Jo Kim 
Director, UNESCO Bangkok

Education in a changing world

Mr Kai-ming Cheng 
Professor, Hong Kong University

Education: Wake up! Challenges and tensions post-2015

Mr Yoshiyuki Nagata 
Associate Professor, University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo

Challenges of ESD: Holistic approaches towards a sustainable future

Mr Jose Guevara 
President, Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education

Stories of climate change, the green economy and education

Panel II - Demographic trends and opportunities

Mr Soonghee Han 
Professor, Seoul National University

Demographic Trends, Migration and Urbanization in the Asia-Pacific Region and Implications for Education

Mr Kamol Jiyankhodjaev 
National EFA Expert, Uzbekistan

Migration and the response of education systems in Asian and Pacific countries

Mr Kazuo Kuroda 
Professor, Waseda University

Student mobility in Asia and its regional impacts

Ms Maria Khan 
Secretary-General, Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education

Education disparities and policy options

Panel III - Socio-cultural trends and challenges

Mr Lopen Lungtaen Gyatso
Director, Institute for Language and Cultural Studies, Royal University of Bhutan

Education is wholesome

Ms Konai Thaman 
Professor, University of the South Pacific

Socio-cultural contexts of education in Pacific Islands countries

Mr Seunghwan Lee 
Director, Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding

Revisiting the aim of education and mainstreaming of EIU

Panel IV - Emerging trends of education systems and policies

Mr Barry McGaw 
Chair, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

Emerging trends of education and policies

Mr Xiaojin Zhang 
Professor, Tsinghua University

Key stakeholders, partnerships and shifting policy in EFA: Comparative case studies in China

Mr Mark Bray 
Professor, Hong Kong University

Financing education: Role of government and household expenditure


Session IV - Towards a regional programme for the development of the post-2015 education agenda

A document outlining the discussions of the meeting will be uploaded shortly.






[1] Delors, J. 1996. Learning: The Treasure Within. Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. UNESCO. Paris.