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* UNESCO, Sri Lanka establish South Asian Center for Teacher Development
Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 12:06 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 14, Colombo: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Sri Lanka on a proposal made by Sri Lanka have agreed to establish the South Asian Center for Teacher Development in Meepe as a Category 2 Center under the auspices of the UN agency.

The overall objective of the Centre is to serve as a knowledge and training center for teachers to improve the quality of education in the South Asian region through high quality teacher development and holistic education.

The institution is expected to play a pivotal role in the transformation of the teacher development process in the South Asian region by providing leadership to support policy development, enhancing research and implementation of change in building a quality teacher force in the region.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Education Anura Dissanayake signed the agreement for establishing the center on Tuesday (June 10) in the presence of Sri Lankan Minister of Culture and the Arts T.B. Ekanayake.

"This Center is a testimony of Sri Lanka's strong commitment to UNESCO's work in education. It is being established at a highly opportune time, when there is an urgent need for more teachers, and for better trained teachers, because worldwide, 250 million children, many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds, are not learning the basics," Bokova said at the occasion.

"The quality of education is a concern in all countries. We are firmly committed to work with you to make this Center one of excellence in your country and across the region. Promoting quality education is the best way to achieve sustainable development," she added.

In response, Dissanayake affirmed that the Center would contribute to improving the quality of education in Sri Lanka and benefit the entire region, noting that one of the pillars of the country's development strategy is to become a knowledge hub in Asia. He also assured that the Center would be transformed into one of excellence, and would aim to have global impact.

Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Sri Lanka to UNESCO, Karunaratne Hangawatte and the Permanent Delegations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Turkey and Pakistan were also present at the occasion.

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