Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe, together with 13 other African countries will for the next four years represent Africa’s interests on the world’s highest educational, scientific and cultural body following its election to the 58-member executive body at the just ended 39th session of the general conference of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The country was also elected member of the UNESCO inter-governmental committee on the management of social transformation (MOST).
Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora said the latest developments were testimony of the fact that the world sees the country in high regard.
Minister Dokora said the country’s participation at the executive board also provides a platform to push not only Zimbabwe’s interests in the area of education, science and technology, but also the interests of the African region.
“These two developments put us in a prominent position to take full advantage of the opportunities available within UNESCO for the next four years,” said Minister Dokora.
He said the executive board and the commissions are places where decisions are made hence the importance of Zimbabwe’s involvement at that highest level.
“Decisions are made in those commissions i.e how much funding should go towards which commission and Zimbabwe is there even when reaching out to possible funders, programming for various activities of UNESCO,” he said.
Minister Dokora said during the conference, Zimbabwe through him, was the only African country represented on the panel for SDG4, where he presented on strengthening accountability in the implementation of SDG4-Education 2030.
Zimbabwe also participated in six commissions of the UNESCO namely education, science, social and human science, culture, communication and information, governance, programmes and budgets.
“Taking part in a high level panel of education and other officials also taking part in various commissions is indicative of the high regard that the Africa group has for what we do best, which is education.
“I have indicated previously that our trajectory is known ahead of us as a nation, but of course you cannot be in a body and keep allocating resources to others,” said Minister Dokora.
He said following his representation in the SDG4 panel, a number of countries, which include Turkey, Kuwait, Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia requested meetings with the Zimbabwe delegation on possible areas of engagement.
Speaking at the same occasion, Professor Francis Gudyanga who attended a session on Global Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (Go SPIN) said Zimbabwe was following what is expected of countries in terms of science and technology.
He said the country shared how it was training for future jobs.
The 39th session of the UNESCO general conference began on October 30 and will end tomorrow — November 14, 2017 in Paris, France. About 195 countries were represented.
Zimbabwe’s delegation was headed by Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Meanwhile, Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Professor Paul Mavima, who also attended the press conference, explained how Zimbabwe was seeking to tap into Turkey’s experience in the areas of textile technology.
Deputy Minister Mavima, who visited Turkey in October, said the country incorporated not only textile technology, but also designing into its high school curriculum, which Zimbabwe was eager to learn more on.