How does the region's education system need to improve or develop?
First, the system of studying only to pass exams, or going to an exam-oriented school. Whether a student can make it to university or not depends on what they have studied. Some teachers just teach only to cover the syllabus for students to pass the exam.
This is a narrow view of education. What we want is for students to develop different interests, not only to study books for knowledge. A lot of the time, students just memorise facts and figures from the textbook and then reproduce them in exams.
Another thing that is lacking in our education system is the thinking process - learning how to think and express oneself: learning to be creative, learning to be critical and learning to be innovative.
These don't happen very much in Asian schools and it is very hard to change because of the exam system (mostly objective style, not subjective) and because everybody just wants to get their credential, their piece of paper (from the university).
If we compare the system here and in the West, where you find most of the Nobel Prize winners come from, they are two different stories.
At the high school, primary school and secondary school level, the demands on students in terms of factual knowledge is very limited - and it is much less regarding the development of their thinking, social, and communication skills.
It is only when students go to university or do post-graduate work that content becomes the key factor.
It will not be easy to change all these things, but it does not mean there is no chance. It just takes time to change from bad to good.
Dr Lee is coordinator of the Asia Pacific Programme of Educational Development and a programme specialist in higher education at Unesco Asia and the Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok.
Prior to joining Unesco, Bangkok, she was a professor of education at the University of Science in Penang, Malaysia. She runs programmes on higher education, technical and vocational education, education for sustainable development and ICT in education.