Preparing students to face 21st century challenges (with photo)

    The Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, joined other member economies in adopting a Joint Ministerial Statement at the end of the fourth Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's Education Ministerial Meeting (AEMM) in Peru today (June 12, Peru time).

    "Members have agreed to concentrate efforts on developing the knowledge, the skills and the attitudes that students must have to face the challenges of the 21st century," Mr Suen said.

    Other important topics in the Joint Ministerial Statement included encouraging competencies that students require to succeed in life, the workplace and society, and strengthening their leadership skills.

    "In our joint statement, we acknowledge that quality education for all is the common goal.  We aim towards ensuring that all our students receive quality education that will allow them to help bridge the economic chasm within their respective economies and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to improve the quality of life of the citizens," Mr Suen said.

    "All our students should be able to develop 21st century competitiveness and skills, overcoming the varied disadvantages that can otherwise lead to lifelong underperformance," Mr Suen said, adding that this principle should be a priority for all educational activities.

    Mr Suen noted that some of the agreements reached were to promote the better instruction skills of teachers and the use of new methodologies to help students acquire abilities and competencies for this century.

    Following the recent earthquake in Sichuan, the education ministers acknowledged that much importance should be attached to providing  scientific and practical knowledge about disaster risks and related competencies through the integration of disaster risk reduction education into school curricula.

    "It is crucial that education provide skills for reducing the damage that follows a natural disaster," Mr Suen said.

    "This is the first time I have participated in the AEMM. It is a prime forum for education ministers to get together and exchange views on important policy issues on the education front," he added.

    After the two-day ministerial meeting, Mr Suen held bilateral meetings with the Brunei and Singapore education ministers to share with them experiences and recent developments in education in Hong Kong.

    Mr Suen will call on the Mainland's Ambassador in Peru, Mr Gao Zhengyue, tomorrow (June 13, Peru time) before leaving Lima.

Ends/Friday, June 13, 2008
Issued at HKT 18:25