4th APEC Education Ministerial Meeting Statement
4th APEC EDUCATION MINISTERIAL MEETING
1. We, the Education Ministers of Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; the People's Republic of China; Hong Kong China; Indonesia; Japan; the Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Peru; Philippines; the Russian Federation; Republic of Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Kingdom of Thailand and the United States of America, convened for the Ministerial Meeting in Lima, Peru on June 11-12, 2008, under the Chairmanship of H.E. José Antonio Chang Escobedo, Minister of Education of Peru.
2. We gather under the APEC Peru 2008 theme "A New Commitment to Asia Pacific Development", that unquestionably implies the need to strengthen our education systems, considering that well-educated citizens not only contribute to but also make for the social, economic, and sustainable development of our 21 Economies within just societies that value knowledge, promote a culture of peace, understanding and diversity.
3. We acknowledge that quality education for all is our common goal and therefore we have declared the theme of our meeting as "Quality Education for All: Achieving Competencies and Skills for the 21st Century". We aim towards ensuring that all our students receive quality education that will allow them to help bridge the economic chasm within our Economies and throughout the Asia-Pacific region and to improve the quality of life of our citizens and enable them to enjoy the benefits of globalization as well as the economic integration of the region.
4. We agree to concentrate our efforts on developing the knowledge, the skills and the attitudes that our students must have to face the challenges of the 21st Century: the competencies and skills they need to succeed in life, the workplace and society, and renew our commitment to support EDNET activities and projects toward this theme in order to achieve our goal of having stronger, dynamic, and more inclusive, gender sensitive, and accessible education systems throughout the Asia Pacific region, based on cooperation and collaboration among all EDNET members, fostering partnerships to strengthen educational leadership.
5. We recognize that there has been much progress in EDNET since the 3rd APEC Education Ministerial Meeting in Chile, in April 2004. EDNET Coordinators and priority leaders have kept the forum focused on the four priority areas of math and science, language learning, CTE/TVET, and ICT and systemic reform. We acknowledge that this focus is building a body of knowledge in the APEC region captured via online network activities (the APEC Knowledge Bank and APEC Wiki) and human network activities (APEC Learning Community Builders: ALCoB) that can aid each of our Economies' individual education systems and provide a strong focus for EDNET's role in building capacity and in contributing to create learning societies with educational opportunities for all populations.
6. We endorse the direction in which EDNET has been moving that bases its information gathering on evidence-based practice and research. This emphasis on evidence-based decision-making began in 2004 when the 1st APEC Symposium on Education Reform was held in Beijing prior to the Ministerial Meeting. At that time, the focus of the symposium was to examine content knowledge instruction, at which Eastern systems have traditionally been strong, while promoting creativity and critical thinking skills, traditionally the strengths of the West's education systems. Today, EDNET recognizes the fact that workers need to go to higher levels that integrate the key competencies of the 21st Century such as critical thinking, creativity, teamwork and self-learning needed to succeed in all aspects of life, beyond the workforce, as an individual, a family member, community member, and global citizen.
7. We recognize that the exchange of research and best practices emerging from the 2nd APEC Symposium on Education Reform hosted in Xi'an in January by China, Peru, and the United States, served as the basis of the recommendations in each of the priority areas. (See Recommendations in Annex A).
8. We applaud the initiative of sponsoring a pre-ministerial research and policy forum that sets a recommended agenda prior to the Ministerial Meeting, especially promoting recommendations for project directions that can be realistically and feasibly implemented. Convening a symposium is a model approach and we believe in basing recommendations on policy and research for other Ministerial Meetings. Such a policy and research meeting elevates APEC and EDNET as a world laboratory for new ideas in which Ministers can:
a. Analyze internal performance and practices from the broader perspective of other Economies.
b. Benchmark practices against those of the highest performers.
9. We recognize the further refinement of the recommendations at the Pre-Ministerial Seminar hosted in Lima. The recommendations were revised and serve as the strategic action plan for future EDNET activities and projects.
10. We recognize that the economic, social and cultural differences among APEC Economies account for the diversity of our education systems and enrich our collaborative work on major education problems. We encourage our own research institutions to support APEC education efforts through comparative analyses in the priority areas. This work must continue to grow guided by the main theme of the meeting "21st Century Competencies and Skills" and assisted through collaborative technologies such as the APEC Wiki that provides the platform for a common knowledge base. In this way, the best minds from each Economy can work on some of the most challenging problems in education facing the APEC region today so that we can harness "collaboration for joint prosperity."
11. We recognize the need for our education systems to make special efforts to ensure equity and social inclusion. All students should be able to develop 21st Century competencies and skills, overcoming the varied disadvantages that can otherwise lead to lifelong underperformance. This principle should be a priority for all activities.
12. The Ministers acknowledge that much importance should be attached to providing the necessary scientific and practical knowledge about disaster risks and related competencies through the integration of disaster risk reduction education into school curricula. It is crucial that education provide skills for reducing the damage that follows a natural disaster.
13. We affirm that the priority areas selected for future EDNET activities over the next few years are critical to moving toward this joint prosperity:
a. Mathematics and Science are essential to navigating the data-driven and technological world of the 21st century, no matter one's occupation;
b. Career and Technical Education will become more and more vital as the workforce is constantly adapting to new technological innovations and workers transition to multiple jobs over a lifetime;
c. Learning each Other's Languages is critical because we now live in a global economy. Being able to speak others' languages and communicate in culturally sensitive ways is necessary for trade and other forms of international exchange;
d. Information and Communications Technologies must fundamentally be integrated into classroom instruction, performance measurement, and accountability systems just as it has been integrated into every other facet of modern life. Systemic Reform must be adopted as education systems work to ensure that outcomes in the other three priority areas are delivered effectively and efficiently.
14. We agree on the need to promote the priority areas through an approach that emphasizes 21st Century competencies such as team work, problem-solving and communications skills, in which students are encouraged to demonstrate that they are able to use what they learn in different educational subjects or occupational areas to solve meaningful tasks and challenges.
15. We have reviewed the recommendations proposed by EDNET in each of the priority areas and direct EDNET projects to focus on the key systemic components of education change:
a. Teacher's quality and instruction: encourage teacher training and use of new teaching methodologies to help students achieve 21st Century Competencies and Skills.
b. Standards and assessments: Exchange experiences contribute to build on or improve the standards and assessments of each of the APEC Economies. It implies having modern curricula, adapted to the diverse realities and necessities of today's world.
c. Resources and tools: Sharing and developing materials and tools that support learning.
d. Policies and research: Research development to learn of educational policies that have contributed to improving the quality of education in the Asia Pacific region.
16. The Ministers acknowledge that more efforts should be made to facilitate international educational exchanges among APEC economies. This means working towards increased reciprocal exchanges of talented students, graduates and researchers by strengthening the existing relationships. The exchanges will aim to develop skills in foreign languages, intercultural training, provide internship opportunities and strengthen professional competencies.
17. We acknowledge that EDNET should build on and add value to work related to education being done by other international organizations, such as the World Bank, OECD, OAS, SEAMEO and UNESCO with focus on high quality projects and partnerships that leverage comparative advantages of each partner.
18. We request that EDNET collaborate with other APEC fora where synergies can be found. We also requested that EDNET support the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group's Strategic Plan for English and Other Languages.
19. We request that EDNET, through the HRD Working Group, report on conclusions reached at the 4th Education Ministerial Meeting during the next meeting of the APEC Economic Leaders in Peru and provide the Ministers with an Annual Report of Progress towards the goals we have established.
20. We would like to express our sincere thanks to our Host, Peru, for their warm reception and hospitality and commend their hard work in preparation for this meeting, and we would also like to thank the Human Resources Development Working Group and the APEC Secretariat for their contribution to the success of the meeting.