The idea to establish a regional organization in order to improve the quality of education in South East Asia was conceived in a meeting of Ministers of Education and Culture in 1965. This idea took shape and was realized in an organization called the SEAMEO (South East Asian Ministers of Education Organization) which was officially inaugurated on February 7, 1968 by the signing of the SEAMEO Charter by seven Ministers of Education, representing the Governments of Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and South Vietnam. In 1971 the Republic of Khmer followed as the eighth member country, whereas in 1973 France became an associate member, followed by Australia and New Zealand in 1974.