On 23 March, during her official visit to Ethiopia, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, met with the Minister of Education of Ethiopia, Mr Shiferaw Shegute, and a number of high officials of the Ethiopian Government including the State Minister of Culture, Mr. Mulugetta Said, the State Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office, Mr. Shimeles Kemal, the Director of National Commission to UNESCO, Mr. Mebrathu Berhan, the Director for External Relations and Scholarship, Ministry of Education, Mr. Mitku Berecha, and a Representative of the Women, youth and Children Affair Ministry, Mrs. Kidane G/Egzabehear.
The Director-General highlighted the most important areas of cooperation between UNESCO and Ethiopia including education in the post-2015 development agenda, culture and development, the protection of World Heritage sites, and Biosphere Reserves. She commended Ethiopia for its notable accomplishments in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
The Minister of Education underlined the importance of UNESCO’s continued support in the preparation of the Education Sector Development Plan and informed the Director-General of the progress made in terms of access and equity and the ministry’s engagement to promote quality of education in the country. He also highlighted UNESCO’s valuable support, in collaboration with Packard Foundation, for girls to sustain their learning and improve their academic achievements.
“This project brought fundamental changes,” he said.
The State Minister of Culture thanked UNESCO for its support in the protection and promotion of World Heritage sites, in the revision of the new cultural policy of Ethiopia and in the field of intangible heritage. He reiterated his country’s efforts to include culture in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
The State Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office highlighted the efforts underway to promote access to communication to disadvantaged communities including marginalized women. He also informed the Director-General of the work being done to promote freedom of information.
The Representative of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs presented the areas where her ministry is engaged in collaboration with UNESCO. The project supporting girls’ education at the tertiary level, with UNESCO’s assistance, provided economic support to girls in 32 universities, this support was instrumental for the improvement of girls’ achievement at this level of the education system.
The Director-General reiterated UNESCO’s readiness to continue its support to Ethiopia, especially in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals