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Sino-African Education Minister Forum Issues Beijing Declaration

The education ministers from China and 17 African countries in Beijing Sunday jointly signed a Beijing Declaration, at the 2005 Sino-African Education Minister Forum.


The Declaration said the education ministers exchanged views on the current situation and the existing problems in educational development. These exchanges were followed by in-depth discussions on formulation and implementing educational strategies for developing countries. The ministers reaffirm that education is the cornerstone of social development, and promoting the development of education as a national priority is the prerequisite for achieving national prosperity.


The Declaration lists consensus reached by education ministers as follows:


-- Regard free and compulsory primary education as a basic human right;


-- Prioritizing the development of education, providing sufficient and equal opportunities to education and accomplishing lifelong education and education for all, are essential elements in formulating national development strategies for developing countries.


-- The deficiency of educational resources in developing countries remain one of the main obstacles to educational development.


-- It remains a formidable task for developing countries to provide the people with equal and efficient opportunities for education.


-- While steadily popularizing and developing primary education, we shall dedicate ourselves to improving the quality of education.


-- To improve the equality of education and to offer more opportunities for access to education, we will need to facilitate the application of information and communication technology in education.


-- We shall reform our education systems and make vigorous efforts to establish systems that are suitable for our individual national conditions informed by international experiences.


-- The relevance of education to economic development is more significant in the process of pursuing economic development and eliminating poverty.


-- In order to confront the challenges of unemployment, structural adjustment of our economies as well as the demands of technology, developing countries need to establish prudent vocational education policies.


-- developing higher education, enlarging enrollment and improving educational quality and training high-quality talents to meet economic development demands, are the important means for developing countries to accomplish sustainable development if society.


The Declaration pointed out that education, as a carrier of civilization, disseminates diverse national cultures. Developing countries, therefore, need to advocate that education shall promote cultural diversity.


"We maintain that various national cultures should be recognized as feeding into the mainstream of world culture, which will lead to enhanced harmony and tolerance in the global society," the Declaration said.


The Sino-African Education Minister's Forum is an important platform for exchange and cooperation between China and Africa on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, and a significant move for developing countries to seek educational development, it said.


According to the Declaration, all countries attending the forum will pursue vigorous actions, conduct multilateral consultations regarding common issues, and draw implementation plans on further exchanges and collaborations in education.


(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2005)

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