24.10.2014 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Launch and First Steering Committee Review Workshop of UNESCO-KOICA Math and Science Curriculum Strengthening, Timor-Leste

Dili, 24 October 2014 – UNESCO organized a two-day event featuring the launch of a three-year project to strengthen math and science education, followed by a review workshop for curriculum materials. The US$ 2M project, funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), will support Timor-Leste to revise and improve math and science curriculum for the 3rd cycle of basic education. Under the terms of the cooperation, UNESCO will provide financial and technical support to the Ministry of Education for the development of new teacher guides, hands-on activity books and student workbooks that reflect the local realities of Timor-Leste. These materials will be piloted and finalized and the project will train all math and science teachers on their application.

The launch ceremony took place at the National Commission of UNESCO housed at the Xanana Cultural Centre in Dili, Timor-Leste, and was attended by Ms. Dulce Jesus Soares, Vice-Minister of Pre-School and Basic Education, Mr. Uidon Chung, Deputy Resident Representative of KOICA in Timor-Leste; Ms. Mee Young Choi, Chief of the Education Unit of UNESCO Jakarta and Mr. Sergio Muchanga, Chief of UNESCO Dili Antenna Office in Timor-Leste. 

In her speech during the launch, the Vice Minister said that “if Timor-Leste wants to be a smart modern country and wants to emulate other fast developing and successful countries such as Singapore or Korea, then we need to start with a strong math and science curriculum which builds skills in science, technology and innovation.”  Ms. Soares noted that the project is a strong contribution to the ongoing national curriculum reform process. 

In his remarks, Mr. Uidon Chung, the Deputy Resident Representative of KOICA in Timor-Leste noted that “KOICA is committed to supporting science and math education in Timor-Leste and to sharing South Korea’s experience in overcoming development challenges through high-quality education and sustainable growth.” He mentioned that math and science played a key role in the rapid development of Republic of Korea, and that he looked forward to witnessing similar progress in Timor-Leste. 

Ms. Mee Young Choi, Education Unit Head of UNESCO’s regional office in Jakarta, noted that “UNESCO proudly supports the Government of Timor-Leste to ensure that its citizens are prepared for the challenges of the future”. She further remarked that “providing a sound basis in Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry will enable the youth of Timor to pursue their goals, regardless of their background. These students will be empowered to understand and address matters of math and science in everyday life, and to engage in informed evidence-based decision making”. 

After the speeches and brief remarks, there was hand-over ceremony of math and science kits from UNESCO to directors of 3rd cycle schools. This event was immediately followed by a two-day review meeting of the Project Steering Committee, made up of Ministry of Education staff and math and science teachers from Timor-Leste’s 13 districts. The Committee reviewed the new 7th grade materials and provided feedback for later revision. 

Mr. Cidalio Leite, the Director General for Pre-School and Basic Education of MoE formally opened the review session by giving brief remarks. He said that, “the project is a very good initiative in revising the curriculum for the 3rd cycle for years 7 to 9 as this will strengthen the provision of quality education to students”. He also encouraged the Steering Committee to dedicate their time and knowledge to be able to ensure that quality output is achieved.

Next steps for the project include a second review workshop in November, and the development of 8th grade materials. 

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