On 1 June 2020, COL held consultations with Focal Points (FPs) in Asia to seek input into its new strategic plan (2021-2027). Representatives from Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka participated and shared their national priorities. Ahead of the meeting, FPs from Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia and Singapore, besides the representatives of three countries listed above, participated in a survey of their national priorities in relation to COL initiatives.
The meeting was chaired by Professor Asha Kanwar, COL President and CEO, who noted the emergence of a ‘new normal’ in the education system, caused by COVID-19, and the response to this unprecedented challenge by COL and its partners via the International Partnership of Distance and Online Learning for COVID-19.
Key regional priorities were discussed, and capacity building for teachers at all levels emerged as the top one. Participants spoke about the need for new blended learning approaches and expanding the use of online learning resources.
Developing 21st century skills for employability and entrepreneurship, focusing on vulnerable populations, giving special attention to youth, and building resilient educational systems in the context of pandemics and climate change were also identified as key priorities.
Participants also mentioned the need to invest in digital infrastructure and increase access to online learning platforms, including through standard communication channels, such as radio and television, and called on COL to assist Member States in using blended learning approaches in TVET. They welcomed the idea of creating a peer-learning cohort of COL FPs across the regions.
This was the final in the series of four regional consultations hosted by COL in 2020.