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A Year in Review - EPR in 2013


2013 has been an extremely busy and rewarding year for the Education Policy and Reform (EPR) Unit at UNESCO Bangkok. As we reflect on this year with the launch of new projects among our teams and programmes, below are a few select highlights from 2013.

In February, a regional thematic consultation on education in the post-2015 development agenda was held, followed by a regional high-level expert meeting on education beyond 2015 in October. The two meetings gathered diverse voices of education stakeholders in Asia and the Pacific including governments, civil society organizations, research institutions and the private sector, and developed regional perspectives on education for the future. Click here to read the recommendations of the high-level expert meeting. In connection with this meeting, a research project has also been undertaken on teaching and learning in ten countries to investigate pedagogical approaches in the Asia-Pacific region.

In March, we organized the Education Research Institutes Network's (ERI-Net) first meeting for the year, at which participants finalized the research frameworks for this year's studies: the transition from secondary education to higher education, and the integration of transversal competencies (or 21st century skills) development in education policy and practice. In October, the network met again to share the research findings from the two studies and to decide on new topics of research for 2014. A Steering Group was established to provide a further boost to the work of ERI-Net.

March also saw the launch of the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific (NEQMAP), created as a platform for exchange of expertise, experiences and lessons to improve the quality of learning in the region. The network now has 16 members across 12 countries and jurisdictions, and has established the NEQMAP Steering Group, which held its first meeting in September. In this meeting, members discussed major international initiatives on student learning assessment as well as upcoming NEQMAP activities for next year including comparative research, capacity development workshops and a call for membership.

In May, we organized a five-day regional training workshop on Education Policy Formulation and Monitoring. Through a mix of presentations and practical exercises the workshop aimed at strengthening policy-makers' and practitioners' capacity to develop and implement relevant, coherent and consistent education policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

We also provided direct support to several education ministries in areas of education policy and planning, such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Uzbekistan. In Myanmar in particular, much of our work has been dedicated to supporting its Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR), especially in the component of Policy, Legislation, Management and Financing (PLMF). In August we travelled to Myanmar together with a team of international consultants to meet with a wide range of education stakeholders, including national counterparts of the PLMF component team and other development partners involved in education, in order to gain multiple perspectives on the education system. This meeting was followed by two high-level consultative meetings in October and November, which both provided valuable recommendations and insights for education policy and legislative reforms that will assist Myanmar in enhancing its education system further.

In another area of policy planning and reform, we worked together with the Hong Kong Institute of Education to develop an Education Micro-planning Toolkit, which was piloted in Mongolia in September. The Toolkit intends to help countries improve their planning and policy operationalization processes at the local level and to empower communities to design education solutions tailored to their needs. The final version of the Toolkit will be available early next year and its modules are adaptable to country specific needs and circumstances.

Our work on "Learning to Live Together" through education in the Asia-Pacific region saw a number of activities. The multi-country mapping study took place in ten countries, with newsletter highlights on Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The regional synthesis study is underway and due to be published in early 2014. We enjoyed hosting a regional competition on what the concept of "Learning to Live Together" means to youth in the region with a range of entries of photos, images and drawings, of which the top submissions were showcased in a regional exhibition in September at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC). We also presented our preliminary research findings at the first Global Forum on Global Citizenship Education led by the UNESCO Secretariat in association with our partners APCEIU and MGIEP in December.

As for our work on TVET, the UNESCO-RCP Conference was held in October at Tongji University in Shanghai, China bringing together stakeholders to discuss transferable skills in TVET policies, with a focus on practical implications for TVET teacher education. In addition, two policy reviews of TVET were published for Lao PDR in June and Cambodia in November in order to promote policy dialogue on its development.

As we look back on this year, we are happy to conclude that it has been a rewarding year, full of new opportunities, and challenges. We would like to express our sincerest appreciation and thanks to our partners and colleagues at other institutions, as well as our dedicated interns and express our hopes of continuous successful collaborations into the future, because it is through our concerted efforts that we can truly make a difference.

Wishing you a happy, successful end to 2013 and an auspicious start to 2014!

For more information, please contact the Education Policy and Reform Unit.

Related Links:
• Policy and Management
• Quality of Education
• Technical and Vocational Education and Training
• Education Beyond 2015