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Capacity Building Programmes
ADB-THF The New Normal in School Education

It started slowly, almost insignificantly. But in a mere few months, what most people thought of at first as a regional infection had evolved into a global nightmare. The COVID-19 pandemic has overturned every aspect of life as we know it, and its impact on global education is arguably one of the most critical. With schools closed and students confined in their homes, the restriction of access to learning has been devastating for children, their parents and schools alike.

The response of educational systems worldwide has exposed blind spots and weaknesses in the face of an unforeseeable emergency such as a pandemic.

How can we reshape school education to make it more robust and resilient?

To create and stimulate dialogue amongst key stakeholders in education, The HEAD Foundation, in partnership with the Asian Development Bank, organised an online workshop programme from 5 – 12 October 2020 for 50 participants, including policy-makers, teacher educators and school leaders, from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Kyrgyz Republic and Viet Nam.

The programme started with frank presentations from each country on the educational challenges faced, the exacerbation of these, and new challenges caused by the pandemic, as well as reform initiatives being implemented as part of the solution. These presentations set the context for the programme and informed subsequent sessions, helmed by a well-experienced team of international education experts who trained and moderated discussions in such areas as: the safe reopening of schools, new skills needed by teachers and trainers, flexibility in curriculum and assessment, integration of technology with pedagogy, and initiatives in education reform. Guided by the outcomes of the previous sessions, the programme culminated in professionals from each country jointly discussing and presenting desired education outcomes short- and long-term, and the reform initiatives planned leveraging on the resources and partnerships available in each country context.

The rousing country presentations on the last day marked the programme’s success and reminded us that despite the pandemic’s devastating impact on education, open dialogues between key stakeholders at all levels and an unwavering commitment to reform are imperative to yielding the best learning outcomes for every child.

Download the Programme Booklet

Watch the expert presentations from the workshop below.

Mr Ho Swee Huat

Mr Ho Swee Huat is the Founder and Managing Director of Abacus Assets Advisors Pte Ltd. Before starting the company, he had an established career in the banking industry, with 20 years of experience in Singapore, Hong Kong and New York.

He was an Independent Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of CapitaCommercial Trust Management LTD from 2004 to 2013.

He is the current Chairman of Autism Association (Singapore) which he co-founded with a group of parents in 1992. He is also Vice-Chairman of Eden School, a special school for children with autism.

Mr Ho holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Liberal Arts degree in Economics from Hamilton College, USA.

He has been a member of the Board of the Foundation since its incorporation.