Countries attending the first East Asia Summit Education Ministers Meeting (EAS EMM) have committed to improve education delivery across the region.
Attending the meeting in Yogyakarta, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, welcomed the progress made on advancing education cooperation on a regional basis.
"Australia is committed to continually strengthening the collaboration between our major education and trading partners, many of whom are part of the EAS," Senator Evans said.
"Education is the great enabler for this relationship.
"Education cooperation between EAS members will lead to harmonised education systems in the areas of training, skills and qualification recognition.
"The Asian Century provides opportunities for greater links across the region."
The meeting was chaired by Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, H. E. Prof. Mohammad Nuh and attended by Education Ministers of ASEAN Member States, Australia, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.
Member countries have reiterated their commitment to prioritise improving the quality education and training.
"Strengthening education quality and transparency will provide the foundation for regional recognition of qualifications," Senator Evans said.
"This is essential to support future labour mobility and increasing economic growth for the region.
"The collaboration between countries will help broaden the educational opportunities for students to travel across the region for study.
"This is particularly significant for developing the next generation of leaders who will have the skills to take up the opportunities of the Asian Century and to work in a global environment."
Senator Evans announced that Australia will support two further EAS Education Cooperation projects in the next year.
The first seeks to develop, in collaboration with the Republic of Korea, a Regional Network of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) providers to exchange ideas, share knowledge and expertise and form commercial partnerships.
The second project will see Melbourne University coordinate the delivery of capacity building quality assurance training for higher education officials from across the region.
Ministers agreed on Terms of Reference for the EAS EMM and an Action Plan, which will provide for effective coordination with relevant regional and international organisations including the ASEAN University Network and the South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation.
Senator Evans acknowledged the leadership of Indonesian Education Minister Muhammad Nuh and the hospitality of the Indonesian people during the hosting of the EAS EMM.
The next EAS EMM will be held in Laos in 2014.
Media Contact: Minister Evans' office, Rhys Davies 0411 138 572
06 July 2012