Middle East News
Jordan's Queen Rania shares school bench in Soweto township
Mar 27, 2009, 13:38 GMT
Johannesburg - Queen Rania of Jordan shared a school bench with children in South Africa's famous Soweto township this week during a visit to promote education.
The 38-year-old queen visited Phefeni Secondary School in her capacity as ambassador for the United Nations children's agency UNICEF, South Africa's The Star newspaper reported Friday.
UNICEF is funding a gender equality programme in South African schools, aimed at improving educational opportunities for girls.
Over the course of her visit, Rania also met with anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel.
Queen Rania has been an outspoken advocate of women's and children's rights. As honorary chair of the Global Action Week on Education she led a Big Read on Friday for children at a library in Johannesburg.
South Africa's education system is still struggling to overcome inequalities entrenched during apartheid.
An international reading literacy study in 2007 placed South African schoolchildren aged 11-12 last out of 40 countries when it came to basic reading skills.