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SEAMEO delegates tour bilingual education project in China

(October 2010) Delegates from seven countries of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) participated in a study tour 21–24 September that was co-organized with SIL East Asia. In a visit to the Bai Bilingual Education project, they saw facilities, curriculum, teachers in action and community involvement that had been organized by SIL. Countries represented in the tour included Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Bai Literacy Project was started as a six-year co-operative project between SIL and the Yunnan Province Language Affairs Commission. It has the active involvement of the Jianchuan County Education and Culture Bureaus, who have committed, amongst other things, to providing and staffing the project office. SIL provided the primary funding for this project, along with contributions from local authorities.

SIL is cooperating in a ten-year Zero Barrier Bilingual Education project that will serve as a model for future bilingual education work in other provinces of China. In June 2010, a memorandum of understanding was signed for the project between the Yunnan Provincial Education Association Minority Education Committee, the Yunnan Provincial Ethnic Affairs Commission Minority Language Guidance Committee and SIL East Asia.

Impressions from the delegates

SEAMEO was established in 1965 as a chartered international organization whose purpose is to promote cooperation in education, science and culture in the Southeast Asian region. SEAMEO has 11 member countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. It has 8 associate member countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Spain, and 3 affiliate members: the British Council, the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) and the University of Tsukuba, Japan.

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