University of Pretoria awarded Unesco chair

The United Nations education arm, Unesco, has awarded the Chair in Education Law to the University of Pretoria, the tertiary institution said on Monday.

“We are delighted by this honour and opportunity,” said Faculty of Law dean Christof Heyns.

“The chair will allow us to develop advanced expertise, together with our own partners in Africa as well as the Unesco partners worldwide, in this very important area,” he said.

The award, now the 11th given to 10 South African universities, was announced by the director of the division of higher education at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), Georges Haddad, in Paris last week.

There are currently 644 chairs in the world, in a wide range of disciplines, linking 770 institutions in 126 countries.

The chair will have special focus on education in the South African and the broader African context and will be based at the Pretoria institution.

The faculty will work with a network of eight law faculties at universities in African countries to ensure that the reach and impact of the Chair is maximised.

Secretary general of the South African National Commission for Unesco Desmond Fillis said the programme could serve as a prime means of building capacities of higher education and research institutions.

This would be through optimal interaction with the organisation, the chair and civil society and policy makers.

“It opens avenues for these institutions to join forces with Unesco to contribute to the implementation of its programme and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,” said Fillis.—Sapa

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