Thailand is hosting the 44th Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Council (SEAMEC) and the 4th ASEAN Ministers of Education Meeting (AMEM) from 5 to 8 April 2009, with the emphasis on equal educational opportunities, or Education for All, at the Sheraton Grande Laguna Hotel in Phuket.
Thailand’s Minister of Education, Jurin Laksanawisit, as SEAMEC and AMEM President, is set to lead 19 member countries to consider and approve projects, work plans, and a budget for the promotion and development of education, science, and culture of members toward the goal of Education for All in the region by the year 2015.
The Education for All movement took off at the World Conference on Education for All in 1990 when representatives from 155 countries and 150 organizations pledged to provide education for all people by the year 2000 at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand.
Since then, governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies and the media have taken up the cause of providing basic education for all children, youth and adults. Their intention was that children, youth and adults would "benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs."
SEAMEO, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, which encompasses all 10 ASEAN countries, has tabled 10 projects, including the Project on Quality and Equity in Education, initiated by Thailand at the 37th SEAMEC in Chiang Mai, Thailand; the Project on the Use of Mother Tongue as a Bridge Language of Instruction; SEAMEO – UN HABITAT Cooperation on Promoting Human Values-Based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education in Southeast Asia; and Education for the Underprivileged, such as promotion of education for the physically handicapped, follow-up on school dropouts, education for women and girls, education for pre-school children, consultancy for children affected by HIV, and a policy meeting on the development of teachers, emphasized by Thailand as a prerequisite for education development.