Singapore rejoins UNESCO after two decades

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Singapore, Oct 8 (UNI) Singapore today rejoined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) after 22 years.

Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Kim Yong, who will attend the UNESCO General Conference in Paris from October 16, told the mediapersons here that it was in the country's interest to engage UNESCO.

''Singapore can learn from other member countries how to improve its education system,'' the Strait Times quoted the minister as saying.

In a move to build a knowledge-based economy, Singapore is highly interested in cultural and scientific exchanges with other UNESCO members countries.

Chaired by Mr Yong, the Singapore's National Commission for UNESCO will be set up by the year end. It will plan and coordinate the country's activities in UNESCO and will include three sub-commissions focusing on education, science and culture and information.

Singapore joined UNESCO in 1965 as a full time member. However, it withdrew from the organisation in 1985 due to several reasons.

Justifying its stand, in 1999 the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said that Singapore left the group as it was asked to pay more dues than genuine.

Besides, it also felt that UNESCO was a bloated organisation and decided to leave after the United States pulled out in 1984 as Washington was not satisfied with organisation's policies and management Since 2005, Singapore has been an observer at UNESCO implying it can participate in the activities.


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