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 2011-04-05 01:21 pm Back to NEWS
Zambians freer now, says Rupiah
President Banda with UNESCO director general Irina Bokova (left) at State House

President Banda says Zambia has made major strides in upholding and entrenching sound legal and regulatory standards for freedom of expression, information and a free, independent and pluralistic media.

"We recognise these freedoms as crucial to the development of sustainable, positive governance and democratic practices," Mr Banda said on April 4.

He said this when visiting United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) director general Irina Bokova who paid a courtesy call on him at State House.

Mr Banda said Zambia is actively pursuing education for all under Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and has put in place important interventions to achieve that.

He said in line with UNESCO's general policy positions, Government is enhancing co-operation with institutions of higher learning to increase the use of information communication technology (ICT).

Mr Banda said to strengthen the link between education and work, Government has introduced an entrepreneurial component in school curricula to promote survival skills.

"We are examining ways of introducing critical thinking, analysis and inquiry as part of the learning process. This will help close the capacity gaps in science education and the enhancement of human rights appreciation among the youth," he said.

Mr Banda thanked UNESCO for including Zambia in the Technical Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) strategy pilot programme, in which participating nations will receive up to 1,000,000 euros over a period of three years.

He said Government is supporting the development of culture, and has invested in ventures such as museums.

"Some of our annual cultural ceremonies have become international tourist attractions. We are also actively involved in the executive board meeting for the return of cultural property illegally appropriated from countries of origin, and in capacity building for cultural statistics," Mr Banda said.

He said Zambia's participation in the 35th session of the UNESCO General Conference was a landmark in the country's history of her membership.

He said the conference enabled Zambia to exchange ideas and experiences in various human development sectors.

And Ms Bokova congratulated President Banda on the progressive policies his government is implementing in the education sector.

Ms Bokova cited the Education Bill as a landmark document.

"We believe that education for all is a prerequisite for any country to attain MDGs, overcome poverty, and achieve gender equality," Ms Bokova said.

She said education of women and girls is at the heart of UNESCO's mandate and priority, as this creates a more just and equitable society.

Ms Bokova said UNESCO is also working with other UN agencies in helping Zambia fight HIV and AIDS.

She said UNESCO is committed to fight the pandemic because it impedes development and disrupts the normal lives of communities.

Ms Bokova said UNESCO also wants to support Zambia in the inscription of the Barotse culture landscape on the world heritage list.

She thanked President Banda for the vibrant democracy that Zambia is enjoying, saying free and independent media play an important role in sustaining democracy.

And Ms Bokova has urged Government to quickly finalise the Education Bill because it will play a vital role in providing quality education.

She was speaking when she met representatives from United Nations (UN) agencies at Lusaka's Intercontinental Hotel on April 4.

Ms Bokova said the Zambian government has progressive policies such as the National Gender Policy, which is aimed at improving the status of women as most of them are illiterate.

She said it is for this reason the Ministry of Education, through the Directorate of Open and Distance Education, is working on a policy that will streamline the activities, objectives and strategies related to adult learning.

She said the Bill will give teachers the power to search pupils for items banned under the school rules and issue same-day detentions.

Ms Bokova later toured the University of Zambia.



 
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