SA, Syria sign agreement of cooperation in education

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cape Town - Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande has signed an agreement of cooperation with visiting Syrian Minister of Higher Education Dr Ghias Barakat.

The agreement proposes cooperation in institutional collaboration and research, and will strengthen relations between the two countries.

The agreement will also facilitate initiatives such as the establishment of an African Studies Programme and the Middle Eastern Studies Programme at the universities of Damascus and Cape Town respectively.

Earlier this week, Minister Barakat and his deputy Dr Najeeb Abdul Wahed met with the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim and the Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor.

The delegation will this afternoon visit Parliament and sit in on President Jacob Zuma's oral replies to questions in the National Assembly.

During their stay in South Africa, the Syrian Minister and Deputy Minister will also hold talks with the Vice Chancellors of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape and the University of Stellenbosch.

They are also expected to visit the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Human Sciences Research Council.

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa and Syria enjoy cordial relations.

An official Syrian delegation led by the Vice President, Abdel-Halim Khaddam, visited the country in 1994 to attend the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. In 1998 Syria opened an embassy in Pretoria.