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New UNESCO training to meet future challenges in education sector planning

18.06.2012

A new distance training programme on education sector planning was launched simultaneously in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam on Wednesday 6 June 2012. The Thai launch took place at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

“In Education planning nowadays, the most notable change is change itself,” said Mr Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok, at the opening of the half-day panel discussion to mark the launch of the new training programme. Education sector management is facing new challenges such as jobless growth, student mobility, labour migration, advances in technology and climate change. 

“This requires very careful educational planning, and we need to think about what kind of future we want to have. Educational planning is aiming to close the gap between now and the future,” said Mr Kim. 

The training was developed by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) with financial support of the J.P. Morgan. Mr Khalil Mahshi, IIEP Director, addressed participants via a video message.  

“Without educational management and planning, we will not meet the challenges ahead and the expectations towards educational decision makers,” Mr Mahshi said. 

Ms Jean K. Sung, Executive Director & Manager, Global Philanthropy Asia-Pacific of J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation highlighted the importance of investing in human resource development. 

“We have seen investments in human resources help lift countries out of poverty and steadily improve basic socio-economic indicators and social welfare. Strong, compelling evidence of this has occurred in recent decades in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam,” Ms Sung said. 

The  panel discussion focused on educational planning issues in Thailand. Panelists were Dr. Kunying Kasama Varavarn, former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education, and Dr. Yongyuth Chalamwong, Research Director at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). 

Dr. Kasama said: “From my personal experience education starts long before the age of three. Children from a rich family tend to have a high language acquisition skill, whereas children from a poor family have a very low language acquisition skill. So, if we only focus on school and do nothing before they enter school, you’ll never be able to deal effectively with educational disparity.” 

The panelists discussed issues, such as creating inclusive school environments, student performance, employability and lifelong learning. 

“Education planners and policy makers should look at the employability aspect of graduates beyond the domestic boundary. Education should not be a preparation for life but should happen throughout life as lifelong learning,” said Dr. Yongyuth. 

Closing the discussions, Dr. Pruet Siribanpitak, programme coordinator and Head of the Educational Administration Division, Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University, addressed the 22 course participants from the Thai Ministry of Education, different universities and other public institutions in Thailand.  

Mr Siribanpitak said: “Because we face various changes, education can help to cope with these changes, and we hope that all of you become a new generation of educational planners. Some of you may be instructors of a new educational planner too.” 

The new UNESCO distance training programme provides six modules to be learned over a time span of 11 months. The training offers a whole range of skills and techniques required for education sector planning.