Education Minister Dr. Sintayehu Wolde-Michael said Ethiopia needs the support of UNESCO in its efforts to strengthen the contribution of science and technology to socio-economic development.

The Minister said the Ethiopian government allocated 20 per cent of the total annual federal budget for the education sector, while State Governments allocated up to 40 per cent of their budget for the same purpose.

According to the Ministry's Public Relations Service, Dr. Sintayehu made the remark at the 174th Session of the Executive Board of UNESCO in Paris, France, on Tuesday.

In line with the national and sectoral science and technology policy put in place since 1993, Dr. Sintayehu mentioned the establishment of the National Radiation Protection Authority, the Information and Communication Technology Authority, the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office as well as the National Scientific Equipment Centre.

The Minister said that Ethiopia would realize the MDG to see all school-age children get access to quality primary education by the year 2015.

In 2006 primary school enrolment has reached 89.14 per cent and secondary education has reached 30.9 per cent.

Out of the total enrolment, the Minister said that, the share of girls in primary, secondary and higher education has reached 44 per cent, 37 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively in 2005 and 2006, the Minister said.

The Minister would discuss with UNESCO Executive Board members and other officials on issues related to the development of culture, the expansion of tourism, science and technology as well as the support of UNESCO for the development of telecommunications in Ethiopia, among others.

The Minister also spoke at the Session about the New Ethiopian Millennium, which would be celebrated in one and a half year time.

A series of events would take place in Ethiopia and around the world in connection with the New Millennium where it would be commemorated by the Ethiopian Diaspora and friends of Ethiopia, he said. Ethiopia would continue as UNESCO Executive Board member for the next four years, the Ministry said.

The Ethiopian Herald