Oecusse District declared free from Illiteracy
Dili, 2 September 2010 - President José Ramos-Horta today presided over a ceremony to celebrate the declaration of Oecusse as the first district in Timor-Leste to be "Free from illiteracy." The event was attended by Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General Finn Reske-Nielsen, Timorese government representatives and foreign dignitaries.
The "Yes, I can" literacy programme, supported by the Ministry of Education, is being implemented throughout Timor-Leste; recent graduates of the three-month programme in Oecusse demonstrated their writing skills on a blackboard to enthusiastic applause from an audience of hundreds.
The Timorese Government estimates that there are close to 300,000 youth and adults who are illiterate, outside of school, or have not completed compulsory basic education. The Ministry of Education aims to eradicate illiteracy by 2015.
Timorese Minister of Education João Câncio da Costa Freitas spoke of the positive effect that the achievement of literacy in Oecusse will have on the community and thanked the Cuban Government for its assistance with the literacy project.
Timorese Government representatives at the ceremony included President José Ramos-Horta, President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama de Araújo, and National Parliament Member Arsenio Paixão Bano.
Also attending the ceremony were Cuban Ambassador Ramon Hernandez Vazquez, Brazilian Ambassador Edson Marinho Duarte Monteiro, and Chinese Embassy Counsellor Fang Xinwen.