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S. Korea to offer US$10 mln in education support to African countries

All News 17:32 June 01, 2016

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea agreed Wednesday to offer the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) US$10 million over the coming five years to help support vocational education in Ethiopia and four other African countries, the Education Ministry said.

South Korean Education Minister Lee Joon-sik signed a letter of intent in Paris with UNESCO chief Irina Bokova to mark South Korea's provision of the second-stage trust fund for the project known as "The Better Education for Africa's Rise (BEAR)."

The BEAR project is a five-year official development assistance project that Seoul initially started in 2011 at the request of the U.N. body. Under the project, a donor country offers a fund aimed at a special purpose to the U.N. education body.

UNESCO implemented the first-phase of the BEAR project from 2011-15 that involved the development of curriculums and related textbooks and the training of teachers in five African countries -- Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi.

The program was utilized to develop textbooks for the BEAR curriculum in the Congo and BEAR curriculums for technical colleges in Botswana, while adult technicians took part in the program to obtain certificates.

Under Wednesday's agreement with UNESCO, South Korea will offer an additional US$10 million through 2020 that is needed for the second-stage of the program that affects five more countries -- Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar.

President Park Geun-hye visited Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya as part of her swing across Africa since last week. Lee said he hopes Seoul's support for the project, coupled with the president's summit diplomacy, will "give rise to maximum results of the country's education cooperation with the three countries."


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