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Delegates from 10 APEC member economies, including Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States gathered online on 14 October for the Special EDNET Session for reviewing the achievements of 2021 and planning for the year of 2022.

The special session, chaired by the EDNET Coordinator, Dr. Wang Yan, and New Zealand Co-Chair, Mr. Daniel Tasker, was the fifth EDNET virtual meeting held this year. The EDNET Coordinator opened the meeting by acknowledging member economies’ dedicated efforts for education cooperation in the APEC region and New Zealand’s leadership and commitment, which, together led to impressive achievements over the fruitful virtual APEC year, particularly the outcome document—Developing Education 4.0 Across APEC Economies. Dr. Wang commented that APEC members are creating “APEC Education Cooperation 4.0” with new approaches and pathways for education cooperation with their inspiring and innovative actions across APEC economies.

Mr. Tasker acknowledged the efforts of all member economies in embracing and meeting the challenges that COVID-19 has posed for EDNET’s engagement in 2021. New Zealand expressed sincere appreciation for all of the support it has received, and especially the willingness of member economies to meet virtually across the year.

New Zealand then presented an overview of achievements of APEC education cooperation in 2021, including four EDNET meetings, one panel discussion, three APEC-funded projects and five self-funded projects, two conferences. Other joint initiatives in 2021 include: the Synthesis Report on Education Responses to COVID-19, the Concept Note on Knowledge Platform Education Policies and Practices, and Progress Report on Implementing APEC Education Strategy.

As next year’s host, Thailand then introduced their plan for APEC 2022, highlighting resilience, digital and sustainable recovery as well as people’s wellbeing. With vaccination rates rising, Thailand has eased some restrictive measures and adopted new safety measures; hopefully delegates from member economies can visit Thailand to attend physical meetings next year. New Zealand, Australia, China, the Philippines and the United States expressed high hopes for Thailand to host on-site meetings and looked forward to cooperation with Thailand next year.

The EDNET Coordinator presented on the Progress Report on the Implementation of APEC Education Strategy (2016-2020) and the Draft Concept Note on the Knowledge Platform on Education Policies and Practices, for which delegates provided constructive comments and inputs. The delegates also discussed establishing the Steering Committee of APEC Education 2030 to promote implementation of the APEC Education Strategy and concurred on the need to ensure strategic continuity of EDNET’s work and acknowledged the value of the committee in this regard.

The meeting was concluded with closing remarks by New Zealand, Thailand and the EDNET Coordinator.

The New Zealand Co-Chair thanked EDNET members for their contributions and the EDNET Coordinator for her strong leadership. New Zealand commented that it has been an active and productive APEC year, attributing these achievements to the hard work of member economies, guided and supported by the EDNET Coordinator.

Thailand acknowledged the leadership and contribution of New Zealand as well as EDNET Coordinator and thanked all member economies for their support and looked forward to meeting them in Thailand in 2022.

The EDNET Coordinator acknowledged the hard work of, as well as encouragement and support from member economies, and expressed hope to continuing to work with them to achieve the shared goal of inclusive and quality education for all.