Laws, Budget, and Actions of Equitable Education
Side-Event of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Education Minister’s Conference (APREMC-II)
Hosted by Equitable Education Fund, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO), UNICEF Thailand, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), Save the Children and UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education
Movement from Rhetoric to Results
Even before the pandemic, 259 million primary to upper-secondary schoolchildren remained out of school worldwide due to political, economic, social and cultural barriers. This number represents a combined total of 59 million children of primary school age, 62 million of lower secondary school age, and 138 million of upper secondary age. Poverty has persisted as a major hurdle: children from the poorest households are almost five times more likely to be out of primary school than those from the richest. Other groups frequently deprived of education are children with disabilities, children from ethnic minorities, and girls. Evidence indicates that gender parity in primary education exists in just two-thirds of all nations. Negative gender standards affect both girls and boys. Geography is another major factor. Rural children and those living in conflict or war-torn areas miss primary school at double the rate of children from metropolitan centres. As a result, 27 million children are excluded from education globally. Notably, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago, the number of out-of-school children has significantly risen.
Equitable education, which is the heart of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, is the key to changing the situation. Equitable education is conceptually understood and supported by all stakeholders; nevertheless, it is neither practiced nor embedded well in current education systems in many countries. To address these challenges in Thailand, the Royal Thai Government established the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) in 2018. Since then, EEF has been active not only in promoting equitable education in Thailand, but also in advocating and sharing knowledge on practices of equitable education both regionally and internationally. EEF has organized international events and led to the establishment of the Equitable Education Alliance (EEA).
Following the results of international events and recent discussions conducted by the EEA, the UNESCO-hosted side-event ‘Laws, Budget, and Actions of Equitable Education’ will highlight concrete recommendations on how to enact equitable education laws, ensure public budgets, and take action to transform education systems in the Asia-Pacific region towards a more equitable approach. Promising practices, including ground-level case studies will be presented and discussed with three key presenters from Finland, New Zealand, and Thailand.
Purpose of the Side-Event
Enhance understanding of how to promote equitable education through legal frameworks, regular public budgets, and decentralized delivery mechanisms with local leadership.
Key Questions and Discussion Points
- How can we enact laws/education systems of equitable education?
- How can we distribute education budgets equitably?
- How can we support teachers to realize the potential of children of diverse backgrounds and contexts through decentralized education mechanisms?
1st Presenter: Equitable Education Acts in Thailand and Actions (TBC)
Dr Kraiyos Patrawart
Equitable Education Fund (EEF); or
Dr Thantida Wongprasong
Director, Partnership, Innovation and Scholarship Office
Equitable Education Fund (EEF)
2nd Presenter: Equity-Based Budget Allocation (TBC)
Department of Policy (TBC)
The Ministry of Education, New Zealand
3rd Presenter: Mainstreamed Equity Education and Decentralized Delivery Mechanisms (TBC)
Ms Sanna Takala
The Embassy of Finland
Date and Time: 6 June 2022, 13.20–14.20 (Bangkok: UTC+7)
Meeting Modalities: Hybrid, with up to 60 in-person participants (registered APREMC-II participants, i.e. by invitation only) and 100 online participants
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok (Chao Phraya Room, 1st Floor)
For more information about this event, please contact eisd.bgk(at)unesco(dot)org.
 Two events that EEF has organized with various partners are linked below. The events had a combined total of 2,424 participants from more than 70 countries, and were watched by 38,800 viewers.
Regional Conference on Teachers and Equitable Education 2021: https://afe2021.eef.or.th/
The International Conference on Equitable Education 2020: https://afe.eef.or.th/
 The Equitable Education Alliance (EEA), , which is a Community of Practitioners. currently comprises 15 public agencies/organizations and other technical supporters that have promoted equitable education in their countries (https://equity-ed.net/. The speakers for this side event all belong to the EEA.