The initiative is conceived as one that will integrate psychosocial counseling for teachers as well as skills training and the development of proven techniques to address the psychosocial needs of traumatized children in the classroom. Rehabilitation aspects of the proposal involve the work by a team of mental health experts from the Ministry of Health.
In addition to the teacher training plan, a methodology sharing practice is carried out to insert the module of psychosocial recovery into the official curricula. This process involves UNICEF; the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health; the local teacher’s association and several NGOs. At present, there are some 3,500 children from Bam most of whom are temporarily attending classes in the neighboring city of Kerman, following a contingency plan of “student absorption” conceived by the province’s governorate.
UNICEF Iran Representative, Ms. Kari Egge today signed the official agreement with the Ministry of Education that will lead to the development of the teacher training programme in Bam. “It is very important for children that they gradually get back to their normal lives and that you help them in the process from the classrooms”, Egge said to the teachers attending the ceremony.
“Together with UNICEF, we have set the path towards complete school reinsertion”, the Minister of Education stated with regard to the start of the training sessions. He also thanked UNICEF for its support to the teacher training initiative and the delivery of notebooks and schooling material.
Progressively, this methodology is intended to reinstate the formal curricula in all affected districts in Bam, where an estimated 80 semi-permanent schools are operating inside tents and connexes provided by UNICEF, the Iranian State Welfare Organisation (SWO) and other INGOs present in Bam. Current data showing numbers of children enrolled in school is about 8,000.
With technical assistance by UNICEF, the 3-day training module initiated today will at first be exercised in 2 different locations in Bam. Prior to the training, UNICEF will carry out the screening of the emotional status of a pilot group of 70 teachers which will identify the needs for the subsequent counseling / training stage.
Through this training module, school enrolment and retention rates in Bam are expected to increase significantly, thus setting affected children into daily routines to provide them with a sense of normalcy and continuity.
Transition to the formal curricula will then take effect in a way that envisages both schooling capacity restored and local leadership established to support the sustainability of rehabilitation efforts started by UNICEF in the area of education. To that end, an Assessment Report is being carried out by UNICEF to ascertain the situation of operational schools in the 13 different districts in Bam. Number of pupils and their ages; number of teachers (local and from other districts); number/kind of lessons; trauma activities and teacher training are among details that this exercise is expected to provide.
Seen a basic tool for protecting children in Bam, the re-establishment of formal education in Bam will help children rebuild their lives and allow for the society to reinvigorate social networks and strengthen sustained local development.
With all local counterparts and governmental delegates involved in the process, the teacher training module is likely to expand to all basic education centres in Bam in a three-month period, thus ensuring wide-ranging outreach of the UNICEF launched initiative.
UNICEF will continue to support psychosocial counseling for vulnerable children both in schools and in the community. Training for health care workers, school psychologists and teachers will be expanded and support will be given to the growing network of educational and health professionals involved in basic psychosocial care.
For more information, please contact:
Wolfgang Friedl, UNICEF Media – Bam – 98-912-208-4360
Ms. Kari Egge, UNICEF Iran Representative - 98-912-30121-78