The school environment needs to be conducive to every aspect of child development and to ensure that the school actively encourages all children, especially those that tend to drop out first, notably girls, the very poor and children with disabilities.
Poverty is a huge obstacle to learning. UNICEF has provided each pupil with smart blue backpacks with school materials inside, such as pens, pencils and rulers. Particularly important for some of the poorer children are free school meals; this is high on the school government’s agenda. The parents build a canteen with UNICEF support, and the lunches are initially provided by the World Food Programme, with the aim that the community will contribute in the future. However, the lunches often stop when the community groups are unable to carry the costs.
Simple improvements, like separate latrines can make huge differences to adolescent girls. Special efforts are also made to ensure that children with disabilities come to school. Members of the school council have taken part in a training supported by UNICEF on how to integrate children with disabilities into school. The teachers have been taught to assess them differently if necessary, not always using exams, and they make home visits, especially if they miss school.
To achieve results in early childhood development, child-friendly schools and non-formal education, we work at the National level to achieve broad results.
As a result of UNICEF’s work in the education policy sector, the following documents have been developed: “Policy Preschool Education” and the “Policy for Inclusion of Children with Special Needs,” and “Guidelines for Professional Development of Teachers.” Preparatory actions for development of standards for early childhood education and the child-friendly school standards are currently underway, including advocating for the adoption and implementation of policies regarding girls’ education, abolishing school fees and to increase access to quality education.
Improved quality of education:
Enhanced education management system: