High Commission on Education for Afghanistan meets at UNESCOParis - The Afghan ministers of education and higher education, Mohammad Younus Qanooni and Mohammad Sharif Faiz, will attend the first meeting of the High Commission on Education for Afghanistan at UNESCO Headquarters from December 16 to 21.
The independent Commission was created at the initiative of the Afghan government with the support of UNESCO to develop the policies and strategies needed to rebuild and modernize the country's education system. The international meeting will bring together 23 Afghan educators and intellectuals, education experts from other countries, international donors and representatives of other UN agencies.
The High Commission will be presented to the international community on December 17 by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura in the presence of the ministers of education and higher education, Mohammad Younus Qanooni and Mohammad Sharif Faiz, Assistant Director-General for Education, John Daniel, and Afghanistan's Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Zahir Aziz. The ceremony (11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Room XI) will be open to journalists.
The two ministers will present the aims and challenges of the Commission, as well as the priorities in reconstructing the country's education system and making the most of international aid. More than 70 per cent of Afghan adults are illiterate. Last March, some 2.8 million children returned to schools that were unable to meet such a demand. The number of pupils and students is growing constantly with the return of Afghan refugees driven abroad by years of war. As well as infrastructure and material, the country also needs to train teachers and revise school textbooks and curricula. This represents a challenge that the Afghan government and the international community will have to face in the years ahead.
The Commission's secretariat will open in Kabul on January 1 and the Commission itself will hold its next meeting there in May with the participation of the Director-General of UNESCO. This meeting will be held just before the Commission presents its recommendations to the Afghan government in June. One of the main tasks of the High Commission will be to prepare a draft text regarding the objective, strategies and educational policies to be included in the new constitution of Afghanistan, which is at present being drafted.
Journalists wishing to attend the opening ceremony, should contact UNESCO Press Service for accreditation
tel: +33 (0)1 4568-1748.