On 10 June, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the Secretary of the Minister of Education of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr Anura Dissanayake, signed an agreement establishing the South Asian Centre for Teacher Development in Meepe as a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO.
“This Centre is a testimony of Sri Lanka’s strong commitment to UNESCO’s work in education,” said the Director-General. “It is being established at a highly opportune time, when there is an urgent need for more teachers, and for better trained teachers, because worldwide, 250 million children, many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds, are not learning the basics. The quality of education is a concern in all countries. We are firmly committed to work with you to make this Centre one of excellence in your country and across the region. Promoting quality education is the best way to achieve sustainable development.”
Mr Anura Dissanayake affirmed that the Centre would contribute to improving the quality of education in Sri Lanka and benefit the entire region, noting that one of the pillars of the country’s development strategy is to become a knowledge hub in Asia. He assured that the Centre would be transformed into one of excellence, and would aim to have global impact.
The overall objective of the Centre is to serve as a knowledge and training centre for teachers to improve the quality of education in the South Asian region through high quality teacher development and holistic education.
The signing ceremony took place in the presence of the Sri Lankan Minister of Culture and the Arts, Mr T.B. Ekanayaka, the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Sri Lanka to UNESCO, Mr Karunaratne Hangawatte and the Permanent Delegations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Turkey and Pakistan.