Our region is only as strong as our peoples. ASEAN’s economic growth and social development in the past decade have been resilient owing to the contribution of its productive workforce and growing middle class.
Human resources development has been on the agenda of ASEAN since its formation in 1967. The 2008 ASEAN Charter reaffirmed the development of “(…) human resources through closer cooperation in education and lifelong learning (…)” as a key purpose of the ASEAN community.
In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, over 190 countries have ordered school closures. This move impacts 90 per cent of the world’s learners, which translates to a staggering 1.6 billion children and young people.
As ASEAN transforms itself to rise up to the challenges of continuous digitalisation brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Philippines’ Department of Education ensures that educational mechanisms are in place to sustain lifelong learning opportunities for Filipinos.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. Stringent social distancing measures are changing lifestyles and work arrangements. Businesses and governments have to rely even more on technologies to provide information, goods, and services to meet shifting demands from the public.
Human resources development places high on the national priorities of all ASEAN Member States; and it continues to be a vital aspiration of the ASEAN Community. The ASEAN Charter includes in its main purposes: the development of human resources, promotion of sustainable development, and enhancement of regional resilience.
ASEAN, led by Singapore, has an upcoming initiative to support ASEAN Member States to prepare for the future of work in a “new COVID-normal” by leveraging a skilled workforce, embracing technology, and providing safe and decent work for all, supported by harmonious industrial relations.
The word “identity” was stated for the first time in the document of Bali Concord II in 2003. It has become a commonly-used term, but has yet to be defined. Indonesia has taken the initiative to formulate the Narrative of ASEAN Identity. The Definition of ASEAN Identity will be adopted by the ASEAN Leaders during the 37th ASEAN Summit in November 2020 in Viet Nam.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi shares how shaping this identity, from the grassroots, can make ASEAN
more relevant to its people.
I have always been a bit of a polyglot. Ethnically, my mother is half-Malay and almost half-Pakistani—with a smattering of Chinese from her great-grandmother (who was adopted and raised by their Pakistani family).
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