Listen to the Chairman of the UNESCO:

An Interview with the Chairman of the UNESCO:
From our correspondent in Beijing:
Correspondent: Xinsheng Zhang is Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board. He is also Vice Minister of Education, People’s Republic of China.
Welcome, Mr. Chairman. My first question is about adult illiteracy in China. The number of illiterate adults in China has decreased by over 140 million in the past twenty-five years. What is your secret for this success?

Xinsheng Zhang: Thank you for inviting me to this interview. Ok, in China, we have been making great strides since 1978, and in the 21st century, we are reducing illiteracy at a rate of 2 million people per year. Our recipe is simple. Our government places a high priority on two tasks- eliminating illiteracy and providing nine years of compulsory education for all. Our government enables people to see the benefits of literacy by linking it to family life, agricultural production, economic development, and indigenous traditions. We also encourage women’s literacy, because if a woman becomes literate, the whole family benefits.
Correspondent: Education for Rural People was high on the agenda of the 5th High-level Group on Education for all held in Beijing last November. Why is this issue so important to China?
Xinsheng Zhang: Unlike in Paris, Shanghai, or Beijing, the natural conditions in much of western rural area of China are harsh. Much of the western part of our country is vast and highly populated. This means that we need to double our efforts and our investments in order to achieve the same results. Other countries, especially those in (sub-Saharan) South Africa can relate to these challenges. Political will is key to finding a solution.
We have a coordinated mechanism in which leadership and accountability are shared at the central, provincial prefecture, municipal levels, according to the strength of each ministry and agency.
Correspondent: What is at the top of your agenda as Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board?
Xinsheng Zhang: Well we need to focus on UNESCO’s strengths in education, science and culture. UNESCO’s 60th anniversary is a milestone. We must fulfil the Organization’s mandate by contributing to peace and prosperity. But there are new challenges too, HIV and AIDS, SARS, avian flu, sustainable development, and terrorism. I have a very good Board in terms of experience, diversity, knowledge, and willingness to contribute. Reaching our goals will be a collective effort.
Correspondent: Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Xinsheng Zhang: Thank you.


webmaster_fleches029d.gifUNESCO: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifChairman: a person, especially a man, designated to preside over a meeting.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifExecutive : decision-making.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifBoard: (usually singular+ singular or plural verb) the group of people who are responsible for controlling and organizing a company or organization. Example: The board of governors meet/meets once a month to discuss school policy.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifVice: acting as deputy or substitute for; next in rank.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifDecrease: to become less or make something to become less.≠ increase.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifMake strides: make progress towards a goal/make an important positive development.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifRecipe: method/procedure.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifEnable: allow/permit.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifIndigenous: native/original.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifIssue: an important topic or problem for debate or discussion, topic.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifUnlike: different from; not similar to.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifHarsh: cruel or severe ≠ lenient.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifVast: immense, wide.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifSub-Saharan: Of or relating to or situated in the region south of the Sahara Desert.  
webmaster_fleches029d.gifCoordinated: well-organized.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifAccountability: responsibility.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifPrefecture: district.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifFocus: concentrate.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifMilestone: (also: milepost): important event.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifFulfil: achieve.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifMandate: authority/order.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifProsperity: wealth/richness.
webmaster_fleches029d.gifAvian flu: bird flu.
SARS: Abbreviation for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: a serious infectious illness that causes difficulty in breathing and sometimes death.

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