The Education Network (EDNET)

Background

The Education Network (EDNET) fosters strong and vibrant learning systems across APEC member economies, promotes education for all and strengthens the role of education in promoting social, individual and economic development.

Education ministers from 14 economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) met in Washington in August 1992 at the invitation of the United States. They agreed to form an APEC Education Forum within APEC's Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) and to coordinate joint activities in the field of education.

In January 2000 members of the HRDWG approved a restructuring plan that changed the Education Forum to the Education Network (EDNET).

Four strategic areas of action

In June 2008 at the Fourth APEC Education Ministerial Meeting, education ministers met in Lima, Peru, under the policy theme of Quality Education for All: Achieving Competencies and Skills for the 21st Century, to foster linkages and strengthen collaborative initiatives in the field of education. The ministers issued a joint statement, defining four priority areas for future network activities: math and science, language learning, CTE/TVET, and ICT and systemic reform.

Current projects

EDNET meets annually to review ongoing activities and review new project proposals.

New projects proposed by EDNET at its April 2008 meeting and endorsed by the HRD WG were:

  1. Study of best practices in teaching and learning languages in APEC economies: Lesson study applications (Chinese Taipei).
  2. Quest for link between schools and employment: Research on technical vocational education at the secondary level in the APEC region (Japan).
  3. Comparability and benchmarking of competencies and qualification framework in APEC region (Pilot area: Construction and welding) (China and Philippines).
  4. APEC encouraging girls in mathematics and science (US).
  5. APEC 21st Century mathematics & science standards and sssessments: A focus on middle and secondary schools (US).
  6. APEC conference on best practices in school-based action research (Malaysia).
  7. APEC information and communication technology for education exposition (APEC ICT4E Expo) (Philippines).
  8. Expanding and generalising lesson study for improvement of the quality of teaching among APEC member economies: Collaborative studies on innovations for teaching and learning mathematics in different cultures (IV) (Japan and Thailand).
  9. Best practices in human resources capacity building in science and mathematics (Philippines).

Australia-led education projects

Australia has, consistent with the emphasis in APEC on trade facilitation, used APEC as a vehicle for improving the capacity and transparency of APEC economies in education governance with the objective of improving market access, qualifications recognition, quality assurance and student mobility.

In 2008 Australia undertook two APEC education projects: Mapping of Qualifications Frameworks across APEC Economies (completed in December 2008) and Measures Affecting Cross-Border Exchange and Investment in Higher Education in the APEC Region (completed in March 2009). Both projects responded to the Systemic Reform priority endorsed by APEC Education Ministers in 2004 and 2008.

Previous Australia-led education projects include:

  1. Enhancement of Quality Assurance Systems in Higher Education in APEC Member Economies (2006)
    This project detailed the extensive range of quality assurance activities across the region, indicated the similarities and differences in the systems, and highlighted areas for emulation, improvement and cooperation. The report is being used as the basis for further research under the Brisbane Communiqué directed at facilitating strengthened collaboration between national and regional organisations, working on quality assurance in higher education. This study was wholly funded by Australia and the report was produced by the Australian Universities Quality Agency in cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Quality Network.
  2. BEST Practice Governance: Education Policy and Service Delivery (2005)
    Australia funded this project to assist APEC economies identify and share best practice in governance, policy and delivery of education. Australian researcher, Professor Brian Caldwell, produced a report that included a number of economy case studies.
  3. APEC Architect (2004)
    The APEC Architect project established a common basis for the recognition of professional competence to simplify access to practice as an architect in participating APEC economies.
  4. APEC Engineer–Towards Mutual Recognition of Qualifications (1998)
    The APEC Engineer Project developed a framework of best practice in accreditation, recognition and professional development and secured agreement from governments and engineering professions to establish APEC Engineer Registers in order to reduce barriers to the international mobility of professional engineers.

4th APEC Education Ministers Meeting (4th AEMM)

APEC Education Ministers meet once every four years to review progress of joint activities, survey current trends impacting on education within the APEC region and chart future directions for cooperation in education. The Hon Maxine McKew MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Child Care, represented Australia on behalf of the Hon Julia Gillard MP, Minister of Education, at the 4th APEC Education Ministers Meeting (4th AEMM), held in Lima, Peru, on 11–12 June 2008. Ms McKew delivered a presentation on Systemic Reform that focussed on shared challenges such as social inclusion and teacher quality and supply.

In the lead-up to the 4th AEMM, DEEWR commissioned the Centre for International Economics (CIE) to produce a report covering the economics of education, cross-border exchange of educations services among APEC economies, the benefits of exchange and implications for policy development. The report confirmed education as a fundamentally important economic activity. It is both large — accounting for around 6.7 per cent of GDP in APEC economies — and makes a crucial contribution to ongoing productivity and economic growth. Cross-border exchange of education services is an increasingly important means of delivering the quantity, quality and diversity of education services that fit the needs for modern growing economies. All APEC economies are involved in cross border exchange to varying degrees. This exchange in all its modes of delivery — through the movement of students between economies or through the movement of provider or educators from one economy to another — has grown rapidly in APEC in recent years. This growth is expected to continue.

The full report is available from the AEI website.

University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP)

UMAP is a regional association of government, non-government and/or university representatives of the higher education sector. UMAP was not established as an APEC project/activity but has been endorsed by APEC. UMAP aims to enhance cooperation and exchange of people and expertise through increased mobility of higher education students and staff.

More broadly, UMAP’s goal is to improve the quality of higher education overall and enhance understanding of the region’s cultural, economic and social systems. UMAP has been acknowledged by APEC as a vehicle for carrying forward its objective to increase people-to-people links in education. Student exchanges are the main means used by UMAP members to facilitate student mobility. The large-scale programme of two-way exchanges is primarily for undergraduate students in all disciplines to undertake one or two semesters towards their degree in universities overseas. Credit transfer is an important component of UMAP. UMAP has developed a pilot UMAP Credit Transfer Scheme (UCTS) to facilitate greater student mobility in the region by providing a framework for establishing credit transfer arrangements.