Shigeru Aoyagi meets Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister for Human Resource Development
Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, Mr Shigeru Aoyagi paid a courtesy call on the Hon’ble Minister of Human Resources Development, Ms Smriti Zubin Irani, on 3 July 2014.
The UNESCO Director opened the discussion by thanking the Government of India for its continuous support to UNESCO and particularly to the UNESCO New Delhi Office, which he informed is one of the first field offices of UNESCO established in 1948. He briefly then mentioned about the important upcoming UNESCO regional and international meetings, for which he requested India’s representation. He also invited the Minister to consider the Ministry’s active involvement in the International Literacy Day and UN advocacy month for Global Education First Initiative in September.
Appreciating UNESCO’s role and commitment to education and in particular eradicating illiteracy, the Minister pointed out that adult illiteracy has been a huge challenge in India, as. She reaffirmed India’s commitment to it and said that the Government considers this as its biggest challenge and that it will strive hard to empower the whole nation through education. She expressed keen interest in collaborating with UNESCO in this area.
Hon’ble Minister informed about the new innovative proposal of the Government of India, to establish a national e-library, with the main objective of facilitating access to information to public at large and especially to the ones with a passion for reading. This would also she added enable them to easily retrieve information on various cultures and historical scriptures. She felt that this initiative would promote basic reading as people would be encouraged to be self-taught. Their talks also explored how UNESCO could provide its support in this endeavour which could include sharing of UNESCO’s rich collection of documents, case studies and documentaries.
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