THE Department of Education (DepEd) welcomed Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (Seameo) Council President and Singapore's Minister of Education Chan Chun Sing in his first-ever virtual visit to the Philippines.

Sing met with Philippine Education Secretary and Seameo Vice President Leonor Briones, who was elected to the post during the 51st Seameo Council (Seamec) Conference last year, and other education leaders to discuss issues and challenges faced by both countries and the region.

Some points zeroed in during the discussion on April 22, 2022 included the future of education and aspirations for the 21st century skills toward sustainability and resilience; the 21st century competencies comprising mental health, emotional resilience and communication; capacity of structures, physical space and transforming teaching; and building of sense of identity among the young generation.

During the engagement, the Philippines and Singapore education leaders exchanged valued recommendations focusing on online learning, provision of more time and resources for teachers to focus on students with higher needs, and adoption of the strategy of bringing schools to people rather than bringing people back to school to re-train the entire workforce and teachers.

The Singapore Minister of Education also highlighted during his virtual visit opportunities for scholarships and youth exchange programs among his country and other Seameo-member countries, including an invitation for teachers and education personnel from the Philippines to attend Professional Development and Exchange programs at the Singapore National Institute of Education (NIE).

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Part of the meeting also engaged Sing to provide new directions and pave the path for opportunities for collaboration with member countries.

The Seamec president was also introduced to the management team and work of two Seameo Centers in the Philippines — Seameo Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (Innotech) and Seameo Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca).

The Philippines is set to hold the presidency of the Seameo Council by 2023 and shall host the Seameo Council Conference.