A three-day capacity building workshop on textbook development and evaluation concluded on 21 June 2017 in Juba, South Sudan. Opening the event, the Director General of the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards Mr. Omot Okony Olok expressed his gratitude for UNESCO’support to the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI) and called on the participants to make good use of the input and discussions at the training.
The training focused on making textbooks inclusive in terms of the content they provide to learners. In today’s diverse world, textbooks and other learning materials have a major influence in making children tolerant and welcoming of others. Religious, gender-based and cultural differences could be sources of tension and violence if they are not addressed in a constructive manner. The exercises and discussions in the workshop highlight this very important aspect of textbook content and the need to make it inclusive.
The workshop comes at the right time as South Sudan, having developed its first ever curriculum, is now engaged in producing textbooks that support the curriculum. The experts of the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards are expected to use the information and knowledge acquired from the workshop for a positive learning outcome by South Sudanese children. "The issue of inclusivity is a burning issue for such a young country as South Sudan,” said Mr. Odur Nelson, Director General of Alternative Education Systems in the Ministry of Education, who participated in the workshop. “Education is a major vehicle through which this can be achieved; textbooks are an integral part of this."
The workshop was organized in partnership with the Section for Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship at UNESCO Headquarters, the Quality Assurance and Standards Directorate in the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Republic of South Sudan, and the UNESCO Juba Office. Twenty-one high level technical staff who work in the area of curriculum and textbook development participated in the workshop. Three of the 21 participants are from the Teacher Training College in Maridi, former Western Equatoria State. "Teacher training has to take account of textbook development and evaluation in order to make teachers aware about their contents," said Mr. Kenyi Jafar, one of the three participants from the teachers' college. The Section for Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship provided a set of useful materials to share knowledge on textbook selection and production with the participants who took part in the training.
Learn more about Textbook Development at UNESCO.
On 27 July, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, met with the President of the Republic of Ecuador, H.E. Mr Lenin Moreno Garcés, in Quito.
The Director-General highlighted the close ties between UNESCO and the Republic of Ecuador over seventy years, since its membership in 1947. She commended President Lenin Moreno’s leadership in strengthening political transparency and access to information as well as the fight against corruption. In this context, she emphasized the importance of this initiative for unity and social cohesion -- “this should inspire not only Ecuador but also the rest of the world.”
The Director-General thanked the President for his active commitment in UNESCO’s work on the empowerment of persons with disabilities to access information and knowledge using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). She highlighted the President’s dedication and achievements regarding promotion of the rights of people with disability, underscoring UNESCO’s readiness to support the government of Ecuador on these issues.
The Director-General congratulated Ecuador for hosting the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in October 2016, during which UNESCO’s Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development was launched.
The Director-General also met with the President of the Judiciary Council, Mr Gustavo Jalkh. She congratulated him on the progress made in conflict mediation and in the promotion of peace and non-violence, as well as the "Semilleros de Convivencia" (The Seeds of Coexistence) project for the promotion of values of solidarity, respect and tolerance in schools. The modernization and reform of the Ecuadorian judicial system has become a model on this basis, for the region and the world.
While in Quito, the Director-General was declared “Illustrious Guest” by the Deputy Mayor of the city, Mr Eduardo del Pozo, by the Mayor of the Municipality of Quito, Mr Mauricio Rodas Espinel.
The Director-General visited the Historic Centre of Quito, the Convento de San Francisco, the Museum of Carmen Alto, the City Museum, the Convento de San Agustin, and the Museum Capilla del Hombre.