12.09.2013 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

One-Day National Consultation Meeting on Flexible Learning Strategies for Primary School Aged Children and Youths in Timor-Leste

The Ministry of Education in Timor-Leste in collaboration with UNESCO Office, Jakarta and UNESCO Dili Antenna Office organized a one-day National Consultation Meeting on Flexible Learning Strategies for Primary School-Aged Children and Youths in Timor-Leste held at Salão Delta Nova (Comoro, Dili, Timor-Leste) on 10 September 2013. Approximately 100 participants attended the National Consultation Meeting composed of key officials from the Ministry of Education, specifically from the National Directorates for Pre-school, Basic Education and Recurrent (non-formal) Education; together with international/local NGO partners working in education sector, civil society organizations and field staff of the Ministry of Education such as District Education Directors, District Coordinators of Recurrent Education, District Head of Section of Recurrent Education, and national staff of the National Directorate for Recurrent Education.

HE Mr. Virgilio da Costa Hornai in his brief remarks assured that the National Parliament, particularly the Committee F on Education, is very much aware of the challenges of the education sector in Timor-Leste, and encouraged the participants to work together and support each other in order to address the key issues to achieve the goal of providing quality education for all Timorese people. He remarked that the Parliament is also working in responding to the needs of the education sector through approving sufficient budget for education.

The National Consultation Meeting was held to review and discuss policies and flexible programmes that currently exist to address out-of-school children and youths in Timor Leste; to engage in productive discussion on how several directorates and other partners can reach out to these children through Flexible Learning Strategies (FLS); to form partnerships and FLS committees; and to identify challenges and next steps required to reach hard-to-reach children through FLS.

Three presentations were delivered by the Ministry of Education’s National Directorates for Pre-school, Basic Education and Recurrent (non-formal) Education, sharing their respective existing policies, programmes and flexible strategies to reach out to hard-to-reach children, including children in remote areas and out of school youths. After the presentations of the different directorates, Dr. Anwar Al-Said,  Head of the Education Unit of UNESCO Office, Jakarta, delivered a presentation on “Flexible Learning Strategies in the Asia Pacific Region” introducing the concept of flexible learning strategies.

These presentations were followed by a presentation by CARE International in Timor-Leste who explained their experiences on responding to the problem of dropout children in the basic education level, particularly sharing the “School Dropped Out Prevention Project”. Alola Foundation broadly shared their programmes in education and the activities they implemented in providing educational opportunities for children in their targeted areas, including pre-school children. After the presentations, the participants were ushered to a discussion session where they were encouraged to identify existing policies, programmes or flexible learning strategies based on the different presentations carried out by both the Ministry of Education and development partners. The participants identified recommendations and action steps to address the issue of children and youth who have dropped out of school in Timor-Leste.

On behalf of the Vice Minister, Mr. Cidalio Leite, Director General for Pre-School and Basic Education, closed the one-day National Consultation Meeting by emphasizing that in reality, the Ministry of Education has, in one way or another, actually already implemented programmes to respond to youths aged 14 and above (including adults) through its non-formal education programmes. However, he noted that the Ministry has still not been able to concretely address children of primary school age who have dropped from school, or those who have not entered school at all especially in remote areas which is a standing challenge for everyone in Timor-Leste.
The meeting was financially supported by UNESCO Bangkok.

For further information please contact: Dr. Anwar Al-Said (Head of the Education Unit, UNESCO Office, Jakarta, a.alsaid@unesco.org). 

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