|© UNICEF Angola/2009/Hvass|
|Patroness of UNICEF Germany Eva Louise Koehler during her four-day visit to the homes and schools of Angolan children, parents and teachers.|
LUANDA, Angola, 8 April 2009 – At an official ceremony held last week at the Ministry of Education in Luanda, an agreement was signed that will bolster efforts to provide quality education by training 8,750 primary teachers over a period of approximately three years.
The agreement was signed by Vice-Minister of Education Pinda Simao, Head of the European Commission delegation Joao Gabriel Ferreira and UNICEF Angola Officer-in-Charge Geoff Wiffin.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Simao said: "I am very pleased to sign this agreement of collaboration with the EC and UNICEF because it is testimony that we have international allies that believe in the importance of primary education. With this agreement, we will soon have many more teachers and reach many more children with quality primary education"
The European Commission will contribute approximately $5.4 million to this programme, while UNICEF will contribute approximately $1.3 million. "In Angola, as in many other countries, teachers are incredibly important figures in children’s lives. They do not simply teach, they also play an important role as companions to children, contributing to their character development," said Mr. Wiffin.
A visit from Eva Louise Koehler
Last month, meanwhile, Patroness of UNICEF Germany Eva Louise Koehler and delegates from the German National Committee for UNICEF made a four-day visit to the homes and schools of Angolan children, parents and teachers.
|© UNICEF Angola/2009/ Hvass|
|At the signing of the Angola education agreement in Luanda (from left): Head of the European Commission delegation Joao Gabriel Ferreira, Angolan Vice-Minister of Education Pinda Simao and UNICEF Angola Officer-in-Charge Geoff Wiffin.|
Along with Chairman of the national committee, Dr. Jürgen Heraeus, and its Managing Director, Regine Stachelhaus, Ms. Koehler visited schools in Katepa and Cambaxe, both of which have been built under the multi-country Schools for Africa Initiative.
Katepa currently has nine classrooms and will soon have a total of 12, as well as separate bathrooms for boys and girls, thanks to the generous support of the German people. In both Katepa and Cambaxe, Ms. Koehler talked with children and met with members of the parent-teacher association.
Schools for Africa started in Angola in 2005. So far, 320 schools have been built while 60 have been rehabilitated through the initiative. Additionally, 54,000 teachers have been trained in child-centred teaching methodologies.
The German National Committee for UNICEF has provided major funds for these activities, and UNICEF Angola is helping the government turn the school environments into child-friendly spaces.
"I have seen both new and rehabilitated classrooms, and I have spoken to the children and their parents," Ms. Koehler told the local press corps in Malanje. "What strikes me most is how openly people speak about their situation. I think this is very positive, and it shows that people participate in school life."
In her role as First Lady of Germany, Ms. Koehler also paid a courtesy visit to her Angolan counterpart, Ana Paula dos Santos, to share and compare notes about their work on behalf of vulnerable children.