Message from the President and Report on the OMEP Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2017
What an exciting year of celebration for OMEP-Hong Kong! After 25 years of earnestly promoting the wellbeing, rights and education of young children, we celebrated this milestone by hosting the OMEP Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2017.
We were most gratified to co-organise the Conference with the Education Bureau (EDB) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and to partner with five universities, including Hong Kong Baptist University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Education University of Hong Kong, The Open University of Hong Kong and The University of Hong Kong.
The conference’s theme: Enhancing the Quality of Early Childhood Education: Policies, Pedagogies and Parent Engagement, gave timely insights into the implementation of the Free Quality Kindergarten Education Scheme in Hong Kong this year. The Conference was also one of the designated events of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s 20th anniversary celebration.
The Conference was held from 18 to 20 May at the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Education Bureau’s Education Resource Centre. A total of 972 academic and early childhood education practitioners, and 314 parents attended the Conference. These participants came from all over the world including Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.
We had five keynote lectures, four forums, and a total of 85 workshops, paper and poster presentations in the first two days and then an additional half-day parent seminar. Throughout the Conference, we had the opportunity to engage with inspired policy makers, leaders, experts, scholars, educators, frontline practitioners and parents.
This conference has many elements of originality. It was the first OMEP Asia Pacific Regional Conference being held in Hong Kong and it was the first time that five universities in Hong Kong partnered together to organize a conference. Originality requires navigation into unchartered water and that is challenging. Guiding us throughout is OMEP’s missions in promoting the well-being, development and education of young children and the professional development of early childhood educators. My OMEP colleagues have put in a huge amount of efforts and that could not have been achieved without a heartily passion for early childhood education. Originality, Missions, Efforts, and Passion, putting together resemble the abbreviation of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education: OMEP. We had indeed the spirit of OMEP deeply embedded in our hearts when working on the conference.
Our heartily passion for early childhood education bonded us together. We worked hand in hand to overcome many obstacles despite the limitations and constraints we faced. All of us worked fervently and zealously to make the Conference a great success. I feel particularly indebted to our keynotes speakers:
- Professor Andrea Nolan, Deakin University
- Professor Eunhye Park, Ewha Womans University
- Professor Nirmala Rao, The University of Hong Kong
- Professor Iram Siraj, University College London, University of Wollongong (secondment), & Hong Kong Baptist University (visiting)
- Professor Yong Ping Yu, Nanjing Normal University
I also want to express my gratitude to all the OMEP members and long standing friends, who have all along been providing us with their unfailing support to bring about the success of the Conference and the 25 years of achievement of OMEP-Hong Kong.
Finally, I wish you all a very fruitful professional journey in early childhood education.
Amelia NY Lee (Dr.)