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How bombing of UN house affects literacy scheme, by minister


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EDUCATION Minister, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, at the weekend disclosed to her colleagues at the E9 ministerial meeting in Paris, France that bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja by the Boko Haram sect had slowed down efforts to revitalise Nigeria’s adult and youth literacy programme.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has stepped up lobbying at the United Nations for support for candidacy of Dr. Chile Eboe-Osuji as a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Rufai had told the E9 group at a breakfast meeting held on September 9 in New Delhi, India that Nigeria had launched a national programme in this respect last year, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), through a self-benefiting Funds-in-Trust, to accelerate the attainment of the Education for All (EFA) goals.

But “the unfortunate bomb blast,” she stated, “was a temporary setback in our efforts towards implementation, as the UNESCO office in Abuja could not carry out its duties optimally in the circumstance.” She, however, said the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) had relocated the UNESCO office, assuring that work “ will soon commence.”

The E9 initiative was launched in 1993 by UNESCO at the EFA summit of the Nine High Population countries, in New Delhi, India. The “E” stands for Education and “9” for the nine countries which habour not only over half of the world’s population, but two-thirds of the world’s illiterates. Members of the E9 include Nigeria, China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil and Egypt.

Rufa’i, who currently chairs the group, told the members that adequate communication among members was a key element for enhancing their capacity to fulfill their mission. Her words: “There is a dire need to develop more effective mechanisms for communication among the E-9 countries. I wish to suggest that we revive and review the role of our focal points to ensure a more effective platform for sharing (experiences) among member countries.”


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