“Welcome to school” initiative launched in Bishkek
Bishkek, 9 August 2010 – The Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and UNICEF today launched the “Welcome to School” initiative to secure safe access to education at the beginning of the school year in September.
“This coming school year will be fully devoted to peace and harmony building. With this initiative, we encourage all schools to take the first steps in building peace in their communities during the month of September”, stated Minister of Education and Science Kanat Sadykov.
Displacement caused by the civil conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan in June this year has a serious impact on the children’s learning possibilities as a number of their schools are damaged or destroyed, and their parents are reluctant to send them back to school fearing for their safety - both in school and on their way to and from school. Teachers are also distressed as many of them have lost their homes or had to move.
Within this nation-wide initiative, children in all schools and temporary learning places will be taught lessons “On the way to peace and harmony” during the month of September.
At the same time, temporary learning spaces and 1056 secondary schools will be equipped with a core package of teaching-learning materials, each of 1033 schools in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad will be supplied with UNICEF-provided “School-in-a-box” kits, while every primary school in Kyrgyzstan - a total of 2015 - will receive recreation kits. Peace education teaching materials and teacher training have been secured for 72 000 teachers nationwide. Local communities will be mobilized to ensure security for children both on their way to school and back and in schools during the classes.
“Getting children back to school as quickly as possible is one of the most important emergency interventions than can take place,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan, adding that “education is essential for developing children’s long-term opportunities and must not be interrupted.”
To help ensure successful implementation of the Initiative, especially in terms of providing crucially important safety to all the Kyrgyz children, UNICEF will work with a number of local non-governmental organizations both in Osh and Jalal-Abad. UNICEF partners will take on community mobilization within the “Welcome to School Initiative”, share information and monitor overall situation.
The Minister of Education and Science and UNICEF Representative will launch the Initiative in Osh on 13 August.
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