Dili, 30 January 2002


East Timor's Minister of Education Armindo Maia today officially launched a year-long national campaign through Televizaun Timor Lorosa'e (TVTL), East Timor's television station, to raise awareness of the importance of education.

The campaign includes activities to improve community involvement in schools, literacy courses, tele-courses of Portuguese and anti-vandalism initiatives. The literacy courses are part of an ongoing programme that started in May 2001.

By mid-February, TVTL is expected to start screening these 30-minute programmes every week. The content was produced by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Youth in conjunction with TVTL.


A delegation representing East Timor's Government and UNTAET travelled to Oecussi today to discuss with local residents the ongoing issue of transport links between the enclave and mainland East Timor.

The focus of the meeting, which was chaired by a representative from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC), was the international bidding process for the provision of a dedicated ferry to travel between Oecussi and the mainland.

The MTC explained that 12 tenders have already been received and that tomorrow, 31 January, is the final date for receipt of tenders. Each bid will be examined and a final evaluation, which will involve the Oecussi District administration, will take place in three weeks.

Regular passenger service will begin at earliest in the beginning of April. A previous ferry service was suspended in August due to safety concerns, with UNTAET subsequently providing additional flights between the capital and enclave.

The German Government announced in mid-November that it would provide the equivalent of US$915,000 to support the ferry service.

A US$200,000 grant from Portugal is expected to help fund the ferry service until East Timor's independence next May, following which the German assistance should help keep the ferry in service for another two years. A fee for passage on the new ferry has yet to be determined.