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ASEF interviews the Latvian Minister of Education and Science

Published on 06 Apr 2015

Ms Mārīte SEILE, Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, shares her views with ASEF on the role of ASEM and ASEF in strengthening education cooperation between Asian and European countries.

Latvia hosts the 5th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME5) on 26-29 April 2015 in Riga under the topic “ASEM Education Collaboration for Results”. What are the priorities of this meeting and how could these influence Asian and European education policies?

We look forward to examine the future perspectives, main challenges and cooperation development areas of the ASEM Education Process. Similarly, with the socio-economic challenges in both regions, we are going to touch upon the development of skills for better employability, as well as new learning technologies in the light of ASEM’s contributions till date. Being an informal dialogue, the ASEM process mainly contributes through peer learning, sharing experience and views. However, speaking of the meeting outcomes, we also aim at setting specific, result-oriented initiatives that would benefit our education policies in the light of mutual understanding, employability and general well-being.

ASEF looks forward to welcoming you as a keynote speaker at the upcoming 4th ASEM Rectors’ Conference (ARC4) on 26-27 March in Hangzhou, China. The Conference focuses on how university-business partnerships can tackle some of the emerging socio-economic challenges in Asia and Europe, including the employability skills for the youth. How can cooperation among ASEM countries lead to new solutions (opportunities) in this field?

ARC4 is a grand informal dialogue platform which ensures that the information circulates all along the chain of students, rectors and policy-makers. Networking, again, is the keyword to enhance new opportunities. Youth employability issues bother majority of the ASEM family, regardless of the country, its location or size. There is neither a single cause, nor a single solution. However, to share the best practices examples are essential, and this is what the ARC4 is about. The Rectors’ Conference is also important, because it puts the entrepreneurs in the spotlight. Strengthening the dialogue with the future employers of the students is very beneficial.

In which areas do you see potential for Latvia’s engagement in strengthening the education cooperation between Asia and Europe?

We have a thorough experience in the field of quality assurance, diploma recognition and development of innovative competences and entrepreneurship skills. Latvia has contributed mainly through active participation in the Recognition Bridging Declaration Working group, the Working group on Innovative Competences and Entrepreneurship Education and other ASEM initiatives which we have actively undertaken and supported. Over the past four months we have organised two ASEM-related working group meetings in Latvia, and for the past three years we have been working towards the ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting to be held in April in Riga. Our experience, as well as interest to develop the ASEM Education Process grows with each such event, and Latvia is ready to undertake the duties of the host in the future, too.