Time of Event

Day 1: 10:00 – 16:35 Singapore (11:00 – 17:35 Tokyo)
Day 2: 10:00 – 16:30 Singapore (11:00 – 17:30 Tokyo)


Quality education is critical for boosting human resources development, economic growth, and sustainable development, prompting many governments to invest heavily in education to promote their future competitiveness. Despite encouraging trends in public education investment and school completion in Southeast Asia, however, the learning outcomes gap remains significant.

There are multidimensional challenges to improving the quality of basic education and ensuring that all students acquire foundational literacy and numeracy skills. While there are some cases of countries in the region and broader developing Asia successfully tackling these challenges, there are many other accounts of failure. Efforts to improve learning outcomes experienced a significant setback during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organized by ADBI, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, this conference featured new research papers on building basic education quality in Southeast Asia. ADB Chief Economist Albert Park and National Technology University’s Ng Pak Tee delivered keynote speeches. The Center for Global Development’s Justin Sandefur gave a special talk on education policy preferences in developing countries.

  • Highlight contemporary analyses on improving the quality of basic education across Southeast Asian countries
  • Distill policy lessons from the region and possible ways forward
Target Participants

Education policy makers, researchers, and practitioners and interested members of the public

  • Enhanced understanding of basic education quality challenges and opportunities in Southeast Asia
  • Identification of research-based policy solutions
  • Research papers presented will be considered for publication in a journal special issue
  • Asian Development Bank
  • ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute

Event Contact