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
- "I think this project is well implemented. The community and parents are supportive."—Mr. Put Samith, Deputy Director General of Education; Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Cambodia
- "Runs very well, well supported, and has learned from its experiences."- Dr. Didi Suherdi, Head of English Language Education, Indonesia University of Education, Indonesia
- "Very impressive in teaching and preserving the minority language in speaking and writing. In spite of limitations in some sectors, bilingual education projects can be conducted successfully."—Ms. Pininto Sarwendah, Acting Head of Intellectual Fora, Policy-makers, Experts and Capacity Building/Training Division; SEAMEO QITEP in Language, Indonesia
- "Start by bringing Bai remote [less accessible] children to education to give them foundation rights [equal opportunity]. Ethnic children have opportunity to education that impacts future life. Bai cultures are recorded and conserved."—Mrs. Yangxia Lee (Lao), Director, Inclusive Education Centre, Ministry of Education, Lao PDR
- "It’s a project that reaches the world. Equal opportunity for learning is provided to aid every student’s needs. This is just the beginning. More involvement and commitment from all parties is very much needed. Explore all possibilities, teach the children today and they will teach the world."—Ms. Zainab Yussof, Head of Languages Department from Centre of Academic Development, Institute of Teachers Education, Ministry of Education, Malaysia
- "It is impressive and took a lot of perseverance, hard work and lots of advocacy to convince the community. The high commitment shown by the administrators and teachers allows the children of community to progress."—Ms. Arni Zainir, Head of Ethnic Languages Unit, Ethnic Languages Unit, Ministry of Education, Malaysia
- "It made me realize that mother-tongue education is possible. I was very impressed by the project in the following areas: 1. Cooperation of the Yunnan Provincial Government, 2. Curriculum development, 3. Teaching materials where stories of the students are included, 4. Bai music used in the curriculum, 5. Bai teachers and, of course, 6. the dedication of SIL EAG."—Dr. Mary Sylvette Guniundo, Research Associate Specialist, SEAMEO Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH), Philippines
- "A good model that every country could replicate in one’s own country."—Ms. Ofelia H. Eustaquio, Senior Education Program Specialist, Bureau of Elementary Education, Department of Education, Philippines
- "Very impressive to see the children having self-confidence to participate in the learning process."—Dr. Pisit Choenwongsa, SEAMEO-SPAFA Centre Director, Thailand
- "I am impressed with the cooperation between the government, the people from the Education Department and the project."—Dr. Suwilai Premsrirat, Director, Centre for Documentation and Revitalization of Endangered Languages and Cultures, Mahidol University, Thailand
- "I think they feel strongly to teach the children. In KG1, the teacher is so nice and knows how to manage the children. KG2 teacher, they have lots of confidence."—Ms. Mirinda Burarungrot, Project Officer, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand
- "A very successful project that combines different aspects of community development work in an education program. It helps open a window of opportunities to the community, not just in terms of learning a language. Big congratulations!"—Dr. Patcharawee Tunprawat, Specialist in Cultural Resource Management, SEAMEO-SPAFA, Thailand
- "The Bai Bilingual Education project is successful because of strong local support (community support)." Ms. Dao Thi Hong Minh, Researcher, Research Centre for Ethnic Minority Education, Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences, Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam
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.
Related links of interest
- SIL East Asia website
- Shilong Bai bilingual education preschool (November 2006 News Article)
- SIL in 10-year “Zero Barrier Bilingual Education” (June 2010 News Article)
- Multilingual education booklet [Chinese] [English]
- Publication on SEAMEO MLE policies and case studies (April 2009 News Article)
- National language policies and book (2009 annual report)
- Bilingual education preserves the Kam language: A case study
- SIL satisfies new INGO regulations in Yunnan, China (September 2010 News Article)
- Sample multilingual education programs
- Multilingual education certificate course in Thailand (June 2009 News Article)