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APEC Institute of Innovation & Education Development

Image by Yenpo Chen

The APEC Institute of Innovation & Education Development (APEC IIED) and Global Mobility International Forum is a project of the National Taipei University of Technology (Taipei Tech), commissioned by the Ministry of Education (MOE) since December 2021. Through this project, a central office is formed to coordinate the activities and workshops hosted by various departments under the MOE, with the aim of accelerating innovative Asia-Pacific regional education cooperation and strengthening partnerships with key international organizations to cultivate talents for the digital age.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 by Australian Prime Minister Robert Hawke to server as a major economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region, with the aim of promoting economic growth and development in the region through dialogue among government officials from all Asia-Pacific economies. APEC has always been regarded as one of the most important official multilateral economic cooperation forums in the Asia-Pacific region. 

APEC is one of the most important international organizations in which Taiwan partakes, and its resolutions have great impact on global economic and trade policies. APEC’s importance is evident in three aspects. First, APEC’s geographical coverage is vast, encompassing twenty-one major global economies in Northeast Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, North America, and Central and South America. Second, the overall economic strength of APEC member economies is strong. The total population of member economies accounts for about 40% of the world’s population, and the gross domestic product accounts for nearly 55% of the world’s GDP, with the total trade volume accounting for nearly 44% of the world’s GDP. Third, member economy government’s deepened involvement. Heads of APEC member economy government are often involved in the decision-making of APEC resolutions, and APEC’s topics require the involvement of most government ministries. Taiwan joined APEC in 1991 under the name of Chinese Taipei. There are currently twenty-one APEC members, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam. Each member participates as an Economy.

Taiwan’s MOE is part of the Human Resources Development (HRD) Working Group, one of eleven working groups under the APEC framework. Established in 1990, the main objective of HRD is to improve people’s well-being through economic growth and development; and to play an important role in the realization of the Bogor Declaration on investment and trade liberalization. This main objective is achieved by accomplishing three goals—developing knowledge and skills for the 21st century, integrating HRD into global economy, and responding to social issues caused by globalization.

All proposed projects of the HRD Working Group are based on the following eight priority strategies.

  1. To provide quality basic education, especially universal access to basic education; and to raise the educational level of the entire population.

  2. To improve transparency of labor market information and analysis in order to provide flexibility for the workforce and to promote trade and investment opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. 

  3. To improve the skills of managers of key departments, business owners, and trainers; and to provide know-how for business training and sustainable business model. 

  4. To promote and develop personalized life-time learning so that professionals can adapt to the skills of the fast-paced, ever-changing business world. 

  5. To improve the quality of curricula, materials, and pedagogy in all stages of the education system in preparation for the 21st century.

  6. To facilitate the flow of qualified personnel and to increase member economy’s access to skilled personnel needed for the economic growth and development throughout the Asia-Pacific region by enabling mutually-recognized certifications of skills and qualifications.

  7. To enhance the quality, productivity, efficiency, and equality of the workforce and workplaces of member economies. 

  8. To strengthen cooperation in education and training in order to support trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

There are three subgroups under the HRD—Capacity Building Network (CBN), Education Network (EDNET), and Labor and Social Protection Network (LSPN). Taiwan’s MOE is grouped in EDNET, which focuses on fostering strong and vibrant learning systems and promoting quality and equitable education.

APEC is concerned with a wide range of issues, and several key projects are proposed as the key development areas for that year. Human resources entered the list of APEC issues in 2006 and were selected as key development areas in 2015 and 2016. In order to accelerate the development of human resources and education in the APEC region, some member economies have set up specialized research units to consolidate information, develop strategies and conduct activities on the topic. For example, the Institute of APEC Collaborative Education in Korea was established to promote talent development and mobility, human resources development, and international cooperation in education in the APEC region, and to continue to share research and implementation results related to education and human resources development with APEC regional economies as a model module for future education. In addition, China established the APEC Higher Education Research Center (APEC HERC) in 2014 to promote the development of higher education in the region through the establishment of an alliance of higher education experts, the establishment of a higher education information center, the publication of the APEC Higher Education Development Annual Report, and the organization of related activities. 

In 2015, Taiwan made a proposal at the annual EDNET meeting for the first time. Every year since then, the Taiwan representatives have proposed a plan with different themes, including youth innovation and entrepreneurship, STEM innovation education, and regional industry-academia cooperation and technical personnel training. The projects proposed by Taiwan were highly supported by the representatives of APEC economies, and two proposals also received funding from APEC.

In light of Taiwan’s longstanding efforts and success in the development projects of human resources and education in the APEC region, and in the hope of integrating related resources and expanding the capacity of international cooperation in education, the APEC Institute of Innovation & Education Development (APEC IIED) is established in 2021. APEC IIED is also Taiwan’s dedicated unit in participating in the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group - Education Development Subgroup (HRD-EDNET).

APEC IIED serves as a platform for resource sharing and assists in the development of innovative education cooperation projects, conferences, and workshops in the region. Its focus covers topics such as STEM education, digital innovation, youth entrepreneurship, technical education-related training and internships, and women’s empowerment. In addition, as COVID-19 affects regional cooperation and mobility in education and academia, APEC IIED also focus on providing solutions to maintain high quality teaching and learning during the pandemic. It is our goal that, through the results that we bring, APEC IIED will eventually become a working group within HRD-EDNET.

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