China and UNESCO on Thursday jointly launched the 8 million U.S. dollars program to support educational development in Africa over four years to help narrow educational quality gap in the continent.
The project, named "Enhancing Teacher Education for Bridging the Education Quality Gap in Africa" , aims to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals. It focus on providing a sufficient number of qualified teachers in Africa through training programs.
Among the eight African countries, three were chosen as the first year beneficiaries of the project, namely Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and Namibia.
The other five countries will be selected, taking into account the countries with priority program of UNESCO in sub-Saharan Africa, and the cooperation policy of development of China, including those countries whose efforts for EFA initiative are seriously hampered by the shortage of teachers.
In a speech at the launching ceremony in the Paris-based UNESCO headquarters on the sideline of the first Global EFA Meeting, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Cote d'Ivoire to the UNESCO Houphouet-Boigny Denise said "I would like to thank the Government of the People's Republic of China, whose generous contribution is further evidence of its interest for Africa ... The Chinese government's support is timely as it will allow us to proceed with the training of teachers."
For his part, Chinese Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping said China has always attached great importance to its cooperation with Africa, in particular to provide support to Africa' s development. "This particular project is a real step to implement the outcome of the GEM meeting," he added.
Hailing the successful cooperation with the UNESCO, the Chinese vice minister hoped that the program would bring benefits to the education development of Africa.
This first ever established China-UNESCO Funds-in-Trust Project was signed on March, 2012 in Paris.
China' s initial support to UNESCO' s educational activities in Africa came in 2007 with a contribution of 1 million U.S. dollars that benefited the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa based in Ethiopia, and the International Center for Girls and Women' s Education in Burkina Faso.