A mission led by the Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar, Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, visited Guinea-Bissau from 15-19 September 2014 to meet representatives of the new government appointed in July 2014 by the President José Mario Vaz.
Ms Ndong-Jatta met with the Prime Minister Domigos Simões Pereira and several ministers responsible for education, culture, sports, communication and foreign affairs to discuss UNESCO’s on-going projects and explore areas of possible support.
Support to emergency plan
Ms Ndong-Jatta particularly discussed the prospects of UNESCO’s major teacher training project in light of the government’s request to support its emergency plan in education. The plan is to start the training of some 4,000 teachers and principals in October 2014. It was agreed that the harmonized teacher training modules currently being finalized as part of the UNESCO project will be utilized in the emergency initiative. The modules cover mathematics, Portuguese, science, artistic expressions, and pedagogy & ethics.
UNESCO’s project entitled "Improvement of Teacher Qualification and Setting up a Management System of Learning Outcomes in Guinea-Bissau" started in 2009 funded by the Italian government, and activities were successfully implemented until 2011. Project implementation was suspended in 2012 due to the political instability of the country but resumed in 2013.
“We are delighted to support the laudable efforts of the Guinean-Bissau government to accelerate the country's education agenda, which is much needed” said the Director of UNESCO Dakar. “We know that there is no quality education without qualified teachers and we trust that the training modules that have been elaborated will prove valuable,” she added.
Digital kits for better learning
In the area of literacy, the UNESCO Director shared the experience of UNESCO’s successful literacy project in Senegal. This project has integrated the use of mobile phone, computers and innovative applications to improve the quality of programmes. UNESCO will seek to donate a number of Sankoré digital kits, which promote more interactive forms of learning, as part of the on-going teacher training efforts. The use of the ECOWAS Reference Manual on Peace and Human Rights, available in Portuguese and Creole, was also tabled.
Efforts to ratify UNESCO conventions
In the area of culture, the rehabilitation of sites of memory such as the Amilcar Cabral House in Bafata or the memorial of Cacheu was highlighted and the Secretary of State Youth, Culture and Sport, Tomas Gomes Barbosa, shared his requests for support from UNESCO, which includes the preservation and conservation of the memory of human living treasures.
He also informed that the government has been making efforts to ratify the UNESCO Conventions, namely:
- International Convention on Anti-Doping in Sport;
- Convention on the measures to take to ban and prohibit the illicit import, export and transfer of cultural property.
- D'UNIDROIT convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural goods (Rome, June 24, 1995); and
- Convention expressions of cultural goods in 2005.