The ASEAN – UK Supporting the Advancement of Girls’ Education Programme or ASEAN – UK SAGE Programme is a GBP4million UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (UK FCDO)-funded Programme for ASEAN and Timor-Leste. The Programme started in June 2023 with the inception phase until October 2023 and is now in its phase 1 implementation period from November 2023 until March 2025.

The UK’s Dialogue Partner status was formalised in August 2021. A five-year ASEAN – UK Plan of Action (PoA) 2022 – 2026 was agreed in August 2022. The ASEAN – UK SAGE Programme emerged from the UK’s official Dialogue Partner status with ASEAN and was welcomed as the first ASEAN – UK cooperation programme implemented under the PoA at the Second ASEAN – UK Senior Officials Meeting (AUKSOM) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, in June 2023. One month earlier in May 2023, the ASEAN – UK SAGE Programme was officially announced by The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP Minister of State in the UK FCDO at the Education World Forum (EWF) in London.

The ASEAN – UK SAGE Programme is in line with ASEAN and UK priorities in the education sector particularly for women and girls and supports the integration of ASEAN by narrowing the development gap among the ASEAN Member States. Key references include the:

The Programme also supports action lines under the 2016 ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Education for Out-of- School Children and Youth

Specifically, the ASEAN – UK SAGE Programme aims to provide evidence-based technical input that enables key players in the region including the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), and ASEAN Member States (AMSs) to develop effective policies and programmes that improve foundational learning for all and that tackle exclusion and constraints limiting the achievement of girls and marginalised groups. The Programme is delivered through the following workstreams:

  • Foundational learning crisis
  • Post pandemic Out-of-school girls and marginalised groups
  • Gender barriers to digital skills and employment

Integration of education technology will crosscut the three workstreams. Activities under the Programme include demand-led projects; technical assistance; research, evidence and data; and advocacy.

The ASEAN – UK Programme is implemented by:

The ASEAN-UK SAGE Programme is co-led by the British Council and SEAMEO. The Programme is managed by a programme management office based in Jakarta and Bangkok.

In this section