Second Steering Committee Meeting for the UNESCO project “Strengthening Science and Mathematics Primary Education in Timor-Leste”

UN Compound, Ana Lemos room, DILI, 29 January 2021   from 10:00-12:30

UNESCO held the second Steering Committee (SC) for the project “Strengthening Science and Mathematics Primary Education in Timor-Leste”, supported by the Government of Japan, on 29 January 2021 in a blended mode. The meeting aimed to update the steering committee members and co-chairs with the progress on the project implementation.  

Among the onsite participants were the Director-General of Pre-school, basic education and recurrent  school, Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MEYS), Mr Apolinario Serpa Rosa, the Deputy Ambassador of Japan to Timor-Leste Mr Shusaku Hirashima, and the Secretary General of Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Francisco Barreto.  The 14 onsite participants were joined by five online participants from Japan (Koei Research and Consulting Inc. (KRC), National Federation of UNESCO Association in Japan, the Naruto University of Education, and UNESCO Jakarta, including the Director and Representative to Timor-Leste, Mr Shahbaz Khan.

In his opening remarks, Mr Apolinario Serpa Rosa, representing the Minister of MEYS as the co-chair, encouraged the SC members to contribute ideas during the discussions for developing the supplementary materials that will be beneficial for the teachers and students, and to support towards successful implementation of the project.

The Deputy Ambassador of Japan to Timor-Leste, Mr Shusaku Hirashima, noted that the project had implemented a curriculum mapping workshop and World Science Day celebration since the first SC meeting. He observed teachers actively participating in the discussion during the workshop, and talented students representing all municipalities in Timor-Leste demonstrated their experiment and studies at the World Science Day celebration Mr Hirashima hoped the meeting would have an active and productive discussion to make this project more significant.

Mr Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Jakarta, reported the four main activities implemented since the first SC meeting in September 2020. Twenty-two teachers from eleven districts participated in the Curriculum Mapping workshop (7-8 November 2020), yielding to understanding science and math primary education issues in the classroom. Secondly, SESIM delivered the World Science Day Celebration (24-27 November 2020) successfully. SESIM also conducted the Diagnostic test (1-9 December 2020) to over 650 students for grades 4 and 6 in ten schools in Dili and the analysed result by KRC clearly shows the gaps in proficiencies at the end of each cycle. And finally, SESIM has completed the survey in municipalities for the location of the future lab building.

At the closing session, Mr Apolonario Serpa Rosa, stated that the meeting yielded in very useful and pertinent discussions for the project’s future implementation.  Deputy Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Hirashima Shusaku, appreciated the work of UNESCO Dili Antenna and Jakarta Offices for facilitating the implementation of this project. He noted it was not easy to coordinate from a distance. He hoped all partners will continue working together to improve the quality of math and science education in Timor-Leste. Mr Shahbaz Khan closed the meeting by expressing his appreciation to all SC members, the co-chairs, the SESIM team, Japanese partners and the UNESCO team for a fruitful and successful meeting. The project team will carefully consider the meeting recommendations in full coordination with the Embassy of Japan. Mr Khan reiterated the priority and importance given to this project in UNESCO and thanked the Government of Japan for supporting the project.