On 15 October 2020, the ASEAN-UNICEF Conference on Digital Transformation of Education System all through ASEAN was held via Zoom Webinar.

Dr. Myo Thein Gyi, Myanmar Union Minister for Education in the meeting, expressed profound grief at the exceptional loss of lives and challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated that the COVID-19 epidemic affected the educational system worldwide; thus, the ministry is putting forth endeavour to accomplish a better education system and diminish the COVID-19 effect on schooling.

The meeting highlighted the significance of the linkages between and among access to digital technologies, computerized proficiency, adaptable aptitudes, inclusion and equity, public-private sector associations, the role of children and youth, and the potential of work in the digital transformation of education frameworks.

It took conscious of varying degrees by which education has been digitalized among the ASEAN Member States and the need to incorporate information and communications technology (ICT) in education.
The meeting emphasized the requirement for unity and responsiveness, in accordance with the subject of Viet Nam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship, to address the opportunities and difficulties introduced by the speedily transforming economic scene, and, all the more obviously, the Covid infection 2019 (COVID-19) and future crises.

The ASEAN leaders further perceived that the pandemic has been disturbing the delivery of schooling in ASEAN. They thereby aggravated the various digital divides between groups of children and youth of the area, owing to geographic area, inability status disability status, wealth and income, level of education, digital literacy, gender, etc.

However, they appreciated the efforts and progress made in incorporating digital literacy and adaptable aptitudes into the education systems of ASEAN Member States, especially amid COVID-19. Still, more work needs to be carried out concerning boosting interests in HR and soft and hard infrastructure, scaling up and mainstreaming existing activities, incorporating necessary adaptable aptitudes into the educational plans, upgrading the capability of teachers to deliver digitally empowered educational plans, keeping records of learning results and needs, especially for remote students, and thus guaranteeing equity and inclusion to address the extending digital divide that exists across ASEAN.

The ASEAN’s chiefs have acknowledged that ICT is a vital driver in ASEAN’s economic and social change; and thereby considering the continuous improvement of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, which, among others, aims to speed up the ASEAN’s comprehensive digitalization as the regions come out of the pandemic.

While recalling the current implementation of the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016–2020 as on its sub-objectives “ strengthening the use of ICT in education,” they have agreed to work towards lifetime learning and the digital transformation of education systems in ASEAN. They will encourage digital literacy and create adaptable abilities among all children and youths and guarantee that ASEAN’s training is fair, comprehensive, and fit for the future.

They are also planning to endorse access to safe digital learning opportunities. In acknowledgment of the essential function of schooling in equipping children with cybersecurity information digital literacy skills aims to curtail online dangers and consequences, for example, by supporting the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of Children from All Forms of Online Exploitation and Abuse in ASEAN and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Elimination of Violence against Children in ASEAN.

The ASEAN leaders further aim to engage the private sectors in working together to develop innovative digital literacy solutions and connectivity, especially among the marginalized. They will also encourage the private sector to work together to offer relevant labour market skills, primarily through higher education and technical and vocational education and training, to help fill the skills gaps and train children and young people for the future of work. They will team up with relevant partners, especially children, and youth, and ASEAN accomplices from around the world globe and in related areas, on territories, for example, open educational resources and open access learning, to help guarantee the fruitful digital transformation of education systems throughout ASEAN. They will also support the development of an ASEAN Declaration on the Digital Transformation of Education Systems in following years to promote exchanges of experiences and acceptable practices and will also commit to the implementation of the above mentioned Declaration and the integration of digital literacy in the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2021–2025.

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