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UNESCO Associated Schools Network: A summary of recent achievements in Asia and the Pacific

UNESCO Associated Schools Network: A summary of recent achievements in Asia and the Pacific

Kohei Uno

By Kohei Uno,

Intern, Executive Office,

UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok)


The UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) connects more than 12,000 schools in 182 countries globally around a common goal to build peace in the minds of children and young people. Through concrete actions, member schools promote the ideals of UNESCO in areas of human rights and dignity, gender equality, social progress, freedom, justice and democracy, respect for diversity, and international solidarity and global citizenship.  

ASPnet operates at international and national levels with three clear priorities: education for sustainable development, global citizenship education, and inter-cultural and heritage learning. ASPnet also plays a critical role as a laboratory of ideas for educational quality, innovation and transformation for Sustainable Development Goal 4, Target 7, and as a driver for evidence-based policy advocacy. 

Of the 12,000 ASPnet member schools worldwide, 2,605 are in Asia and the Pacific. UNESCO Bangkok collaborates with the ASPnet in the Asia-Pacific region on several key activities, namely Learning for Empathy (L4E); Together for Peace (T4P) Silent Manga Project; Happy Schools Project, and Collaborative Action Research Project.  

Learning for Empathy (L4E): A teacher exchange and support programme  

The L4E project offers education professionals from different countries opportunities – primarily through study visits and school- and community-based activities – to learn from each other, find inspiration and generate changes in mindsets. Current partners from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka exchange their ideas and practices on promoting empathy, focusing not only on ‘People’ but also ‘Planet’ for building a just, peaceful and sustainable future for the region. 

  • Teachers and education officials from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan go to Japan to exchange ideas with Japanese teachers and students 

  • The L4E experience from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan 

Together For Peace Silent Manga Project 

Silent Manga Catalogue Teacher's CompanionTogether for Peace: Silent Manga CatalogueManga originated as a Japanese graphic illustration genre but has recently become a worldwide phenomenon. Silent Manga refers to manga stories told entirely through illustrations without the use of dialogue. The silent manga stories of this ASPnet project originated in a global competition, and showcase different aspects of peace envisioned by youth artists from around the world on various UNESCO advocacy topics, among them out-of-school children, lifelong learning, anti-bullying, conflict, youth, learning to live together, refugees, and shared histories. Utilizing silent manga as an ‘international language’, the project seeks to raise awareness of these topics among youth, and to encourage teachers to incorporate Silent Manga in their classroom instruction. 

Happy Schools Guide and Toolkit: A Resource for Happiness, Learners’ Well-being and Social and Emotional LearningHappy Schools Project Happy Schools in Asia-Pacific: activities for learner well-being and happiness

The Happy Schools Project, launched by UNESCO Bangkok, aims to promote happiness, well-being and holistic development of learners in schools. The Happy Schools Framework, centres around the core concepts of 1) People, 2) Process, and 3) Place.  

Collaborative Action Research Project  

Education for sustainable development (ESD) piloted by schools in Japan, Thailand and Viet NamThe purpose of the collaborative action research was to actively engage lower secondary-level teachers to reflect deeply on their school-based Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) teaching practices, namely in relation to three key teaching components: 1) curricula (what competencies and topics to address); 2) pedagogy (how to develop these competencies); and 3) assessment (what results have been realized in cognitive, social-emotional and behavioural dimensions). 

The regional meeting was from 5 to 8 September, in Tokyo, and brought together project teachers and researchers from Thailand and Viet Nam for a final exchange of experiences and development of tools for enhancing teacher-led action research in ASPnet and schools in Asia and the Pacific. 

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