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South Sudan becomes UNESCO's 194th member state

(Xinhua)

08:51, October 31, 2011

PARIS, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan has become the 194th Member State of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after completing procedures for the ratification of UNESCO's Constitution on Thursday, the Paris-based organization said Saturday.

"The flag of South Sudan, now floats alongside those of UNESCO's other 193 Member States," the UNESCO said in an e-mailed statement.

"We appeal to UNESCO's Member States to continue to support our efforts so that our young nation can prepare its citizens to catch up with the rest of the world in the areas of cultural heritage management, education and scientific research," South Sudan's Culture and Youth Minister Cirino Hiteng Ofuho said at a flag-raising ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters.

"The new Republic of South Sudan vows to become an active member of UNESCO and the global family of nations," he added.

"UNESCO will stand with the people of South Sudan to strengthen their education system and to support the training of teachers and education professionals," the organization's Director-General Irina Bokova pledged.

According to UNESCO data, over one million children of primary-school age, nearly 50 percent in the age group, do not attend school in South Sudan. The newly independent country also has the lowest enrollment rate in the world for secondary education and only 8 percent of women know how to read and write.

UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have been tasked by the Education Minister of South Sudan to help the new country draw up a plan to address its education needs, the UNESCO said.

On July 14, 2011, the UN General Assembly voted by acclamation to admit the Republic of South Sudan as a Member State.

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