Signing ceremony for Protocol on Cooperation in Improving Early Childhood Development in the Federation of BiH
Protocol on Cooperation in Improving Early Childhood Development in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was signed on April 4, 2012 i Sarajevo by the Federation Minister of Education and Science, Mr. Damir Mašić, Federation Minister of Health, Mr. Rusmir Mesihović and Federation Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Mr. Vjekoslav Čamber. The Protocol is based on the Policy of Improving Early Childhood Development in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted by the Government of the Federation of BiH on 11 May 2011.
The Protocol attests to the agreement of the signatories to improve early childhood development of children in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina through coordinated, concerted and integrated efforts, focusing on marginalized groups and taking special care of their protection from all forms of discrimination. Early childhood development improvement policies were adopted last year in both entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They provide the necessary framework for strategic planning and future strategic allocation of resources.
“In the field of education, increasing the coverage of preschool education and upbringing in accordance with individual needs of every child is of particular importance. In addition to organized forms of preschool education, alternative forms of preschool education are also considered. A positive example of such development is the establishment of ECD Centers offering a special array of integrated educational, social and health protection services” said the Federation Minister of Education and Science, Mr. Damir Mašić.
“Only a healthy population is a guarantee for proper development of society. This document is a step towards ensuring the best beginning for a healthy development of every child. Inter-sectoral cooperation is particularly important for children in their early childhood, as it provides conditions for early identification and intervention in developmental disorders in the first three years of child’s life”, said the Federation Minister of Health, Mr. Rusmir Mesihović.
Federation Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Mr. Vjekoslav Čamber invited donors, organizations and institutions to support the implementation of this Protocol and added: “I believe that the signing of the Protocol on Cooperation between the three ministries will lead to improved cooperation among all institutions providing educational, health and social protection services. Professionals in these fields need support in order for all of them to provide children with all services required and adequate protection in early childhood“.
UNICEF Representative in BiH, Florence Bauer, has stated that UNICEF considers the signing of this Protocol an important step. “Knowing that investing in early childhood development is the best investment and necessary strategy to break the vicious circle of poverty and social exclusion, we are confident that the cooperation of the three ministries will contribute to changing the concerning data on low coverage of preschool education, high rate of anemia in children or low rate of immunization coverage. I would like to reassert UNICEF’s commitment to supporting BiH authorities in promoting investment in early childhood development, which is the basis for long-term development of BiH” Ms. Bauer stated.
Policy documents that should contribute to early childhood education and upbringing and Europe 2020 goals for social inclusion have been a product of joint effort of experts in health, education and social protection. They provide a framework for the strengthening of integrated approach to early childhood development through coordinated services and activities involving these three sectors.
One of the modes of support by UNICEF is 13 integrated early childhood development centers established in 7 municipalities in BiH, focusing on early detection of developmental disorders and work with special needs children. They also provide a framework for raising awareness with experts, parents and society about the importance of supporting the development of children in early childhood.