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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

The Federal Minister of Education and the Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Southern Sudan attend working sessions at UNESCO

The Federal Minister of Education and the Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Southern Sudan attend working sessions at UNESCO
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

In October 2005, the 33rd Session of the General Conference of UNESCO adopted a resolution reinforcing cooperation between UNESCO and Sudan, thus expressing the determination of the Organization to support the country during its reconstruction phase.

The visit undertaken on 5 January 2006 by the recently nominated Federal Minister of Education, Mr Hamid Mohamed Ibrahim, and the Minister of Education, Science and Technology of South Sudan, Mr Micheal MIlly Hussein, fits within the framework of strengthening cooperation with this post-conflict country.

In receiving the Ministers and their delegations, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, reiterated UNESCO’s desire to support Sudan during the important process of reconstruction and development, made possible by the Peace Accords signed in Nairobi, Kenya on 9 January 2005 between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan. On this occasion, he recalled the mechanisms which he put in place within the Secretariat in order to establish intersectoral cooperation, which will provide Sudan, in the different fields of competence of the Organization, all the necessary aid for its reconstruction after the deadly conflict which tore the country apart during the last 21 years. Mr Matsuura briefed his visitors on the work of the intersectoral task force, chaired by the Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Education.

Mr Hamid Mohamed Ibrahim first thanked the Director-General for the support provided to his country and expressed his satisfaction that Mr Matsuura will visit Khartoum in the coming weeks on the occasion of the African Union summit, which will allow a stocktaking on the state of advancement of projects launched during his last visit in 2004, notably the implementation of the first phase of a teacher training project financed by the Japanese Government.

The Sudanese Minister highlighted how much education was a priority for a country where the literacy rate is below 40% and the number of children in school is dropping, and where the education system and its programmes need to be entirely rethought so that they address the urgencies of the current situation. Mr Michael Milly Hussein seconded his counterpart, specifying that the literacy rate was 15% lower in the South. The Director-General assured them that UNESCO was ready to support them in this priority area. He noted that the Ministers also highlighted the importance of rehabilitation of technical and professional education and the launching of appropriate curricula to quickly train those who will reconstruct the country.

The Director-General then recalled his decision to open a UNESCO antenna office in Khartoum and Juba, the two locations foreseen for the United Nations presence in Sudan, in order to respond quickly and appropriately to existing needs. He also mentioned the two technical missions that have visited the country. The last was undertaken in December 2005 and brought together specialists from different programme sectors.

The preparation of the 6th Summit of the African Union (Khartoum, from 22 to25 January 2006) was also discussed. Mr Matsuura recalled the contribution of UNESCO in the preparation of the Summit, which is included in the document entitled “Role of Education and Culture in African Efforts in favour of Development”. It covers education and culture, the two priority themes of the Khartoum Summit. This text was already approved by the African Ministers of Education during the COMEDAF II meeting held in Algiers (April 2005) and by the Ministers of Culture of the African Union in December 2005, in Nairobi. The Director-General hoped that these documents also be taken into account in the final resolution of the Khartoum Summit.

The two Sudanese Ministers of Education, the Under Secretary of the Minister of Education of the North, accompanied by Mr Abdelbasit Badawi Elsanosi, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Sudan to UNESCO, then held several working sessions with representatives from the education, culture, communication and Africa sectors, they examined a series of concrete projects and the means to implement them, such as the adaptation of emergency education kits, which has already been launched in cooperation with the UNHCR. These kits could benefit from the PEER (Programme for Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction) experience in the South and West of Sudan.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info n°001-2006
  • 06-01-2006
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