History and Background

SEAMEO Secretariat
Official Logo of SEAMEO

The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) is a regional intergovernmental organization established in 1965 among governments of Southeast Asian countries to promote regional cooperation in education, science and culture in the region. SEAMEO member countries are Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Lao PDR, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Philippines, Republic of the Union Myanmar and Timor Leste.

As an organization that has continued to nurture human capacities and explored the peoples’ fullest potential, the SEAMEO maintains its work and aspirations for development with peoples of the region to make lives better in quality and equity in education, preventive health education, culture and tradition, information and communication technology, languages, poverty alleviation and agriculture and natural resources.

Located in Malaysia, SEAMEO Regional Centre for Special Educational Needs (SEAMEO SEN) is a regional centre that specializes in education to support the needs of children with different disabilities, gifted and talented children in South East Asia (SEA) region.

Official Logo of SEAMEO SEN

Functions of SEAMEO SEN

  • Enhance the capacity of teachers, education personnel, education officers and specialist in Special Education through short term courses while recognizing the diversities in culture, needs and expectations
  • Strengthen research, training and management activities through staff development, institutional partnership, technical assistance and mutual consultation
  • Organize seminars, conferences, workshops and technical meetings on best practices and current topics for better understandings in special education
  • Facilitate documentation and dissemination of information among institutions and users
  • Support research on Special Education associated with changing global environment
  • Promote the utilization of research results in the formulation of effective teaching and learning strategies in Special Education
  • Encourage networking, partnership, collaboration and resource sharing among Special Education institutions in Member Countries, Associate Countries, other countries, agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Accelerate Special Education improvement and the development of marginalized sectors of society without prejudice, and
  • Offer scholarships to SEAMEO member countries for sabbatical program at the centre

Children with Special Education Needs

SEN Children refers to individuals who have learning difficulties that require special learning needs and those with disabilities who need specialized learning environments compared to most children of about the same age. Thus, SEN could mean that a child has at least one of these characteristics:

  1. Intellectual disabilities
  2. Communication Problems
  3. Emotional and behavioural difficulties
  4. Hearing and Visual impairment
  5. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder

Background of the establishment of SEAMEO SEN, Malaysia

MARCH 2008:

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia stated its willingness to host Regional Centre for Special Education at the 43rd SEAMEC Conference.


Bangkok, Thailand

Malaysia’s proposal to establish SEAMEO SEN was endorsed to be presented at the 44th SEAMEC conference.

APRIL 2009:

Phuket, Thailand

The establishment of SEAMEO SEN in Malaysia was approved at the 44th SEAMEC Conference.

JUNE 2009:

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Malaysian Cabinet Ministers approved the proposal to establish a regional center for Special Education Needs in Malaysia.


Cebu, Philippines

Memorandum of Agreement, Staff Rules and Regulations and the Enabling Instrument that will enable Malaysia to establish SEAMEO SEN were approved in the 45th SEAMEO Council Conference.


Melaka, Malaysia

The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia concurrently as the Malaysian Minister of Education officiated the temporary building for SEAMEO SEN at the Malay Women Melaka Teachers’ Training Institute.

JUNE 2012:

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The MOA between SEAMEO Secretariat and Malaysian Ministry of Education was signed.

MAY 2013:

Melaka, Malaysia

Datuk Dr. Yasmin Hussain was officially appointed as the First Centre Director of SEAMEO SEN Malaysia.

16 JUNE 2013:

Melaka, Malaysia

The temporary office is officially in operation and SEAMEO SEN begins its operation assisted by the Core Team members from the IPGK Perempuan Melayu Melaka.