New textbooks for conflict affected and vulnerable children
TBILISI, Georgia - 12 February, 2009
More than 30,000 new textbooks have been provided to 5,000 conflict affected and vulnerable children in the regions of Gori, Kareli, Kaspi and Khashuri as well as to IDP children living in the various collective centres of the capital Tbilisi. The procurement of new textbooks is a joint effort of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, UNICEF, World Vision, The Ministry of Education of Estonia, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, The Alma Adamkus Charity and Support fund of Lithuania and the International Rescue Committee.
The textbook handover ceremony is being held in Khashuri school #3 (50, Rustaveli Street) on 12 February with participation of Ms. Ana Zhvania, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, H.E. Mr. Toomas Lukk, Ambassador of Estonia to Georgia, H.E. Mr. Mecys Laurinkus, Ambassador of Lithuania to Georgia, H.E. Mr. Raimonds Vingris, Deputy head of mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in Georgia, Ms Kendra Gregson, UNICEF Acting Representative, Mr W. David Womble, National Director of the International NGO World Vision and Mr. M Peter Leifert, Country Director of the International Rescue Committee.
The textbooks will be handed over to libraries of 140 schools in the above-mentioned regions of Georgia. The provision of new textbooks will enable those students who, for various reasons, do not have textbooks necessary to get full education, to enjoy equal opportunities and to have better access to free education.
“I would like to thank our donors and partners for their support” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “I do hope these new textbooks will encourage children to improve their learning achievements and to do better in their schooling. The provision of textbooks is a challenge for the Georgian education sector. Their cost is too high for many parents and this, in many cases, prevents children from enrolling into schooling. Another problem is that the composition of textbooks change rapidly and students cannot use the books from their older siblings. We continue our work to ensure that the lack of textbooks do not deprive children of their basic right - to get free and quality education”, added Barberis.
"World Vision is grateful that so many organizations were able to work in partnership to help the children of Georgia," said David Womble, World Vision Georgia National Director. "These textbooks will go a long way in ensuring that children in these four regions will have access to a fuller education, not just now, but for children in future classes as well. It takes many small hands to make a big change and I am encouraged that World Vision was able to be one of those hands working in coordination with UNICEF, the IRC, and the donors to help improve these communities."
Though August war did not severely disrupt the Georgian education system, according to the Joint Needs Assessment of October 2009, about 100 schools in the conflict affected zones were damaged and much furniture and equipment looted. The most urgent needs of schools in the region were shortage of textbooks and infra-structure repairs.
In October 2008, in order to get children back to school, UNICEF in collaboration with the Save the Children, organized a special book drive for new and used textbooks as a result of which up to 10, 000 textbooks were collected for conflict affected primary grade students.
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