World Assembly Address – President of ASPBAE

World Assembly Remarks -Nani Zulminarni, President of ASPBAE

Nani is a gender and development specialist and educator and activist. Nani’s passion is for community organising and the economic and political empowerment of women. She founded PEKKA, the women-aided headed empowerment program in Indonesia, a network that supports more than 20,000 rural widows and abandoned and divorced women in the strategies that address social and economic empowerment. She has been ASPBAE President since 2017.


Greetings of solidarity and warm welcome to 6th WA. Honor to host you in our region. The region has rich practice and tradition of transformative education, which WA seeks to explore seriously. We would like to share and exchange experience. Transformative education means committing to advance rights of all people to learn and to have equitable access of all people to relevant and quality education and learning opportunities throughout their lives and to enable them to cope, survive and transform their conditions and derive their own destiny.


Last month, the WB has launched the Human capital index, in which one indicator is the expected years of learning, which not only focuses on quantity and years of learning but also quality of learning. Not surprising that most countries have low Human capital index even though the top 4 countries with the highest HCI also lies in this region (Singapore, Republic of Korea, Japan and Hong Kong). The Asia Pacific is one of the most challenged. Hosting largest number of youth and adult illiterates, accounting for 1/3rd out of school children, also the least spenders in education. More than 1 in 10 or around 400 million people live in extreme income poverty. Inequalities, we are facing is multidimensional, including opportunity, gender, identity, caste, language, ethnicity among others interact and inform further marginalisation and exclusion. Marginalisation also promotes least desirable economic opportunities, as manifested in vulnerable employment and even forced labor. The prevalence of forced labor is highest in AP, where 2 out of every 1000 people are victims and where women and young girls accounted for 2/3 gross forced labor in the region.


Displacement is expensive. It remains home at least 7.7m people of concern to UNHCR – refugees, returnees, internally displaced, asylum seekers, stateless people and others. Region most affected by natural disasters – millions affected in storms in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines and Vietnam in 2017. In Indonesia, we still mourn loss of lives by earthquake and tsunami that struck this year. Poor suffer most from natural disasters. While violence against women is a universal problem, the AP region has worst record of gender-based violence in their lifetime with 2 out of 3 women experiencing violence in their lifetime. 1 in 3 globally women are subject in violence, and this figure rises to >40% in SEA, highest among global regions. Moreover, threats to democracy and governance, conflicts and violence are manifest in different parts of AP.


In this challenging context, CS does in pushing for transformative, needed urgently more than ever. Despite the constant widespread threat to democracy, freedom and resilience, we remain committed and undeterred. The solidarity of GCE has strengthened our resolved and encouraged to challenge our vulnerability. We are committed to contribute our collective strength to ensure GCE will always be in front of our global struggles in empowering education. Warm welcome. Everyone will be energised, inspired by the discussion. Special thanks to our colleagues in NCE Nepal for hosting this assembly.

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