State House, Freetown, Thursday 13 June 2019 – A high-level delegation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, led by its Regional Director, Ydo Yao, has met with His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio at State House to pledge their support to Government’s Free Quality Education Programme.
UNESCO is a UN body that seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, Science and Culture. It develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens, free of hate and intolerance. The UN body also works so that each child and citizen has access to quality education.
In his presentation, the Regional Director, said his organisation was committed to supporting all efforts being undertaken by the government, especially for making education a priority. He said as the UN Agency leading education in the world, they were just responding to a call to help government achieve its set objectives for the development of education in the country.
He said UNESCO was also committed to supporting human capital development by mobilising resources to help improve technical and vocational education and to boost the literacy rate in the country. He said based on experience they had a very good approach using new technology to promote education in the country.
Head of Secretariat of the International Task Force on Teachers, Edem Adubra, said improving the quality of teachers was fundamental to the quality of education. He said in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, teachers were considered as means of implementation for all the other goals, noting that improving the quality of life for teachers was not only about improving the quality of education, rather it was about improving the quality of development in general.
On his part, President Bio said he was truly grateful to welcome the delegation from UNESCO, as partners in development. He said as a people Sierra Leone appreciated the value of education, adding that the country was once referred to as Athens of West Africa. He stated that over the years, the level of education in the country had gone down but that there was the need to aspire again to that position not only to serve Sierra Leone but also to be a center that would impact the sub-region and continent.
“We truly believe and have passion for education and it is a means to development, which we all aspire to. If we have to be part of the 21st century, we have to take education seriously. We have added quality to the education we want to provide, which means we want to provide quality and purposeful education to make our children competitive in the global market.
“I truly appreciate UNESCO as an organisation that promotes education and because we are talking about quality, teachers are at the heart of it and are the most important. We will appreciate whatever support you can give to help augment our efforts to improve on the number and quality of teachers,” he said.
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