SEAMEO STEM-ED Shines as Generative AI Spotlighted at the 12th SEAMEO-University of Tsukuba Symposium

The 12th SEAMEO-University of Tsukuba (UT) Symposium marked a significant return to in-person gatherings after three years of virtual meetings. Directors from SEAMEO Centres and international experts came together to share their knowledge and perspectives. The theme, "Challenges and Ways Forward in the Era of Generative AI with Reflection on 25 Years of 21st Century Education," addressed the specific needs of both Japan and Southeast Asia.

During the session on "Monitoring of Artificial Intelligence (AI)’s Impact on Education," Dr Krtisachai Somsaman, Director of SEAMEO STEM-ED Centre, stood out as a distinguished panelist. Recognised as a leader in STEM education development in Southeast Asia and a pioneer in generative AI since November 2022, Dr Somsaman presented his insights on "Recent Studies of AI Impact on Education." He acknowledged the ongoing exploration of generative AI's effectiveness in education, emphasising the limited amount of conclusive evidence. He recognised various promising applications such as brainstorming tools and Socratic chatbot. However, he highlighted existing uncertainties and concerns surrounding them.

Despite these concerns, Dr Somsaman addressed the growing apprehension amongst educators regarding student misuse of generative AI, leading to classroom bans on its use. He argued that globally available technology cannot be simply prohibited, potentially hindering student progress. Instead, Dr Somsaman advocated for equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge to utilise such technologies effectively, highlighting this as crucial for regional competitiveness.

Furthermore, Dr Somsaman presented initial research conducted by SEAMEO-STEM ED on AI effectiveness. This research revealed that participants who attended the SEAMEO STEM-ED AI literacy workshop reported an increased perceived benefit of AI and a stronger intention to use AI in their work.

Notably, their fear of job loss to AI remained consistent before and after the workshop. This suggests that education and understanding can mitigate anxieties surrounding AI and encourage its positive integration into professional endeavors.

For over a decade, the SEAMEO-UT Symposium has convened annually, addressing pertinent issues in teacher education across Japan and Southeast Asia. This year, the initiative assumed the mantle of addressing the rapid expansion of generative AI in education, adopting the theme "Challenges and Ways Forward in the Era of Generative AI with Reflection on 25 Years of 21st Century Education" for a comprehensive two-day discourse (27 February – 28 February 2024). This 12th iteration of the symposium received support from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan, underscoring its significance and relevance in the educational landscape.

During the event's opening remarks, Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat (SEAMES), underscored the pivotal nature of the symposium, stating, "This symposium holds a special significance as we convene to delve into the theme of challenges and ways forward in the era of generative AI with reflection on 25 years of 21st century education." She expressed appreciation for all participants, noting, "I'm honored to welcome you to this remarkable event that has been a testament to the enduring partnership between the Southeast Asian ministers of education organisations and the University of Tsukuba over the past decade."

In her overview, the SEAMES Director elaborated on the rapidly evolving landscape shaped by technological progress. She emphasised the significance of the convergence between artificial intelligence and education, framing it as a frontier that warrants meticulous examination. "We are gathered here, both in person and virtually, in the spirit of collaboration and commitment to enhancing education, science, and culture across Southeast Asia and Japan," she stated. Reflecting on the past two years' unprecedented challenges, she acknowledged the resilience demonstrated in adapting to new norms, evident in the hybrid nature of this symposium. Notably, she highlighted the symposium's focus on exploring the potential and ethical dimensions of transformative teaching methodologies.

The conference encompassed a series of seven panel sessions and three breakout sessions, all centred around a central theme. During a session focused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Mr. Toshiaki Mizuno, Director of the International Affairs Division at the Minister's Secretariat of MEXT, presented an overview of the prestigious SEAMEO-Japan ESD Awards. Notable contributions were also made by speakers from the University of Tsukuba including Dr Masami Isoda, Dr Nakao Nomura, and Mr. Kenichi Yoshida of Sakado High School, with moderation by Dr Takahiro Morio from the Bureau for Global Initiatives.

A special session highlighting the International Co-curriculum Internship SEA-Teacher Programme (3rd pilot batch), a collaborative effort between the university and SEAMEO, with facilitation by Ms. Nao Ishihara of the Bureau for Global Initiatives. Dr Ryosuke Ohniwa from the Institute of Medicine unveiled the JV Campus, while Dr Maki Tsujimura, Director of the Branch Campus Preparation Office, disclosed plans for a newly established campus in Malaysia.

To conclude the event, Datuk Dr Habibah affirmed the shared identification of key challenges in advancing the application of generative AI, underscoring the conference's success. Dr Masami Isoda, Director of CRICED, conveyed appreciation for the collaborative efforts.


※ The symposium achieved a remarkable feat with a pre-registration count of 14,380 participants and significant viewership on YouTube, logging 12,245 views on its opening day and 7,286 on the subsequent day. This widespread interest hailed from 15 countries globally, affirming the event's impact and triumph.

※ Furthermore, the surge in YouTube viewership is notable, witnessing a remarkable 136% increase from 47,013 views in the 11th symposium last year to 111,530 views in the 10th symposium the preceding year.

We highly recommend you to watch the full event below!

Day 1:

Day 2:

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