The 4th meeting of the Regional Network of the SDG 4 National Coordinators: back-to-back meeting of APREMC-II; summary report
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption to education globally, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. There has been a severe negative impact on education delivery, learning outcomes, student engagement and their health and well-being region-wide. This has resulted in a significant setback in progress towards achieving SDG4. Asia Pacific countries were among the very first to be impacted by the pandemic, disrupting access to learning for 800 million learners and disproportionately affecting vulnerable and marginalized children and adolescents. Overall, while the situation is diverse between and within regional countries, the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in access to education and the pre-existing learning crisis and it has also exposed significant existing weaknesses in the quality, relevance and inclusiveness of education and the overall fragility of current education systems.
The majority of regional countries experienced school closures of varying timeframes. Overall, 1.1 trillion hours of in-person learning have been lost in the Asia-Pacific region and learners experienced major learning loss and drop-out rates have increased, in particular among the most vulnerable and marginalized students.
The pandemic revealed the urgent need for action to ensure that all learners return to school and recover their lost education. At the same time, this needs to go hand-in-hand with the need to rethink and transform education and its systems so that they become more equitable, inclusive, relevant and flexible and more equipped and capable to respond to shifting learning and training requirements.
Against this backdrop, the Second Asia-Pacific Education Minister’s Conference (APREMC-II), held in Bangkok from 5 to 7 June 2022, was organized at an opportune time as most countries in the region were reopening their schools and setting up learning recovery measures. The conference provided a platform for Ministers of the 46 Member States of the Asia-Pacific region and education stakeholders to jointly reflect and generate recommendations on how to achieve learning recovery, and at the same time strengthen and transform education and its systems so they can become more equitable, inclusive, responsive and resilient, with the overall objective to accelerate SDG4 implementation.
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