Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, Nadiem Anwar Makarim, has urged all ASEAN member countries to invest more in education to take advantage of the demographic bonus in the region.

"The growth of the demographic bonus in the ASEAN region is a promise to the world for a brighter future," he said at the South East Asia Policy Dialogue on Early Childhood Care and Education (SEA PD on ECCE) in Jakarta on Wednesday.

ASEAN has three main assets, namely regional stability, economic growth, and the demographic bonus, which will later become key in ASEAN's journey to becoming a global growth center, Makarim pointed out.

All education ministers in ASEAN are responsible for driving joint efforts to increase children's capacity, he said.

One of the important foundations that can have a long-term impact on health and welfare, educational success, as well as economic and social productivity is Early Childhood Education (PAUD), Makarim said.

Given ASEAN's demographic bonus, providing quality education to children in their early years would be a meaningful investment for the growth and progress of the region, the minister said.

"It is time for us to send a stronger message to the ASEAN community regarding the urgency to provide the best learning experience for our children from an early age," he emphasized.

While for Indonesia, a bottom-up participation philosophy and collective action have helped the nation become the largest and most populous economy in Southeast Asia that is capable of significantly transforming the education system, he added.

This transformation of the education system has been seen in the learning quality, availability and access, the competence of teachers and education staff, cross-sectoral partnerships, school-family collaboration, digital innovation, and financial management, he continued.

Makarim said the Independent Learning program is also one of the government's educational transformation efforts.

The Independent Learning program is expected to spur a mass movement of teachers, parents, families, and communities that enables collective action to bring essential and large-scale changes.

"We need a continuous bottom-up transformation in our education system," he added.

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Translator: Astrid Faidlatul H, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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