SEAMEO INNOTECH: Dancing with your future

SEAMEO INNOTECH: Dancing with your future

Witaya Jeradechakul

“SEAMEO INNOTECH has now entered a full maturity stage that requires the careful review and study of its current plans and actions, and looking into the future and making it happen. History can only be described, but we can create our future.”

 

I first knew about SEAMEO in 1990 when I was Vice President of Srinakharinwirot University. We arranged to ink the cooperative agreement with the SEAMEO Regional Language Centre (RELC) in the SEAMEO Secretariat in Bangkok. Later in 2010, after the approval of my appointment as the next SEAMEO Secretariat Director which happened during the SEAMEO Council Meeting held in Cebu, Philippines, I got involved directly as the SEAMEO Strategic Planning Consultant at the invitation of my predecessor, Dato’ Ahamad bin Sipon, to co-lead the strategic planning process.   

I was thankful for his thoughtfulness because it had afforded me the opportunities to contribute my expertise in foresight and strategic management methodologies to help SEAMEO set the key strategic direction for the next 10 years (2010-2020).  It was also an excellent occasion that I closely worked and interacted with all the key stakeholders and SEAMEO Regional Centers to accomplish the planning process.  The activities during the various workshops and small group discussions broadened my understanding of the nature and strengths of the Centers. I appreciated the different levels of contribution and commitment of the Center representatives who participated in the workshops. 

Certainly, SEAMEO INNOTECH stood out as one of the key players and contributors from the first workshop and in all other workshops subsequently undertaken in 2011 and in early 2012 as we completed the planning with the vision to achieve the “Golden SEAMEO” by 2020. The SEAMEO communities knew where the organization should go with key strategies and initiatives to drive its mission and to achieve the dream vision set for 2020. In short, we completed our strategy review, strategy formulation, and plans for strategy execution, as well as the guidelines for the monitoring and evaluation process. After March 2015, these important tasks were passed on to my successors.  

SEAMEO College, one of the strategic initiatives, was proposed to enable SEAMEO to become a fullfledged, policy-focused organization. The project was later endorsed and approved by the SEAMEO Council Meeting. The four modules were initiated to link the study and findings from the first level to the top of the Strategic Dialogue of Education Ministers (SDEM).  

The first SDEM was conducted in Lao PDR on September 13, 2014 to approve the findings of the six-month-long study of the Post-2015 Education Agenda conducted by the SEAMEO Secretariat and the SEAMEO Regional Centers. Among other findings, “The Seven Priority Areas in Education” was submitted for final refinement and approval of the Education Ministers.    

SEAMEO INNOTECH, with its readiness and its mission that is oriented toward promoting education innovations, was tasked to manage the first SDEM and to help the SEAMEO Secretariat complete this important policy dialogue and meeting. I appreciate the commitment and unfailing support of Mr. Benito Benoza, Ms. Vicky Laguda, and INNOTECH Center Director, Dr. Ramon C. Bacani.  

The SEAMEO Education Ministers approved the meeting. The draft Statement of Resolution by the Education Ministers served as an endorsement for the Seven Priority Areas in Education to be implemented on a region-wide basis. It was likewise considered a breakthrough since it signified the first time that all 11 member countries joined their hands to drive the key, bona fide educational issues that they believed would be the prerequisite to the development and growth in other areas of economic, political, and social development.  On the global scale, the success of the sustainable development goal and inclusivity in society would need to be built on the successful syntheses and application of these Seven Priority Areas in Education.  

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of SEAMEO INNOTECH’s establishment, I wish to express my heartfelt congratulations to the Center’s immense achievement as the pioneer in providing innovative technology for teaching and learning in the region.  

Half a century of existence calls for both a celebration and a caution to shoulder all future challenges. This is a continuous process of development to reach a new reality. To be a champion in a marathon race means to be a strategic runner.    

George Peabody, the founder of Peabody College some 300 years ago, referred to education as “a debt due from present to future generations” as he believed that education is a shared vision and responsibility, and has the prerogative over all other growth and development.  The task of providing educational services, therefore, is endless, continuous, and non-discriminatory.  

SEAMEO INNOTECH has now entered a full maturity stage that requires the careful review and study of its current plans and actions, and looking into the future and making it happen. History can only be described, but we can create our future. Please keep in mind this phrase, “Building the future is our destiny,” an important emblem of our organization, SEAMEO. 

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