U.S. Support Bringing ASEAN into the Region’s Classrooms

Indonesian Minister of Education M. Nuh (second from left) and U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN David L. Carden hold the ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook with ASEAN Deputy Secretary Dato Misran Karmain (left) and Brunei Minister of Education Abu Bakar Apong
Indonesian Minister of Education M. Nuh (second from left) and U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN David L. Carden hold the ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook with ASEAN Deputy Secretary Dato Misran Karmain (left) and Brunei Minister of Education Abu Bakar Apong

In a landmark development for ASEAN education, school students throughout the region are set to begin learning about ASEAN as a regular part of classroom lessons. The ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook, a U.S. supported toolkit for teachers to incorporate ASEAN themes into classes in all subject areas in primary and secondary schools, was launched today during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting.

“This Sourcebook gives us a foundational tool to teach our children about the political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of ASEAN, which will further strengthen us as an outward-looking, stable, peaceful and prosperous ASEAN Community” said H.E. Prof. Dr. Ir. KH. Mohammad Nuh, DEA, Minister of Education and Culture, Indonesia, who launched the sourcebook on behalf of the Member States.

Following four years of development, the ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook is a teacher friendly manual that incorporates existing curricula being used by Member States as well as other existing ASEAN resources, into chapters organized along five themes: Knowing ASEAN, Valuing Identity and Diversity, Connecting Global and Local, Promoting Equity and Justice, and Working Together for a Sustainable Future.

“ASEAN’s most important resource is its young people,” said David L. Carden, U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN, who presented the sourcebook on behalf of the United States.  “As the region moves closer to integration, it is essential that ASEAN’s origin, history, objectives, and evolving role within Southeast Asia are present as part of every student’s education.  The United States is proud to have contributed to creating this essential tool to achieve that goal.”

“Through this Sourcebook, we will engage teachers and students to explore the means by which ASEAN peoples live and adapt to present realities and opportunities amidst different cultures, languages and religions,” said Dr. Witaya Jeradechakul, the Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Minsters of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Secretariat.

All chapters of the ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook include numerous sample lesson plans to help teachers design classes. These include topics as diverse as understanding rituals and holidays across the region to help students understand their neighbour’s cultures; how depletion of biodiversity affects ecosystems; or how the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights applies to ASEAN.

Each lesson plan contains tools for teachers, such as suggested grade levels, time required, subject areas, lesson objectives, essential questions, learning outcomes, and a list of the materials and resources required.

“The materials are learner-centered and inquiry-based, with crucial 21st century skills — such as critical thinking, media and information literacy, cross-cultural communication, collaboration, perspective consciousness, and respect for diversity — articulated from lesson to lesson, so teachers may help students acquire, practice, and master skills they will need for personal success and responsible citizenship in today’s fast changing interconnected world,” said Namji Steinemann, Director of the AsiaPacificEd Program at the East-West Center and the lead author of the ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook.

The book will be distributed to education centers and schools throughout the region immediately, and the materials will also be uploaded to education websites as an open and free education resource.

The ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook was developed by the Senior Officials Meeting on Education (SOM-ED) and the Southeast Asian Ministries of Education Organization (SEAMEO), with support from the U.S. Government-funded ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility.

Amb. Carden addressing attendees at the launch.
Amb. Carden addressing attendees at the launch.