Young children in rural areas are more affected by migration, poverty and limited access to education and health comparing with children from urban areas
Chisinau, UNICEF, November 17, 2010 – Young children in rural areas are affected to a greater extent by migration, poverty and limited access to education and health care than their urban peers, shows the study “Family knowledge, attitudes and practices in the area of Early Childhood Care and Development 2009” launched by UNICEF together with the Ministry of Education.
According to the survey, the Moldovan parents showed a number of positive tendencies in providing education and care to their children. Compared with 2003, in 2009 the number of parents who play with their children almost doubled to 97%. At the same time, one in ten children under 7 years of age is left without parental supervision. Although, fewer parents said they read books to their children: 30% in 2009 compared with 37% in 2003.
The survey shows a low level of tolerance among the Moldovan families. Only 5% of families think that the children with disabilities should attend the same kindergartens in their communities. Only 46% of the families said they would allow their children to play with their disabled peers. About 20% of the families who have children with disabilities prefer they are kept in boarding schools.
The study also revealed alarming tendencies related to violence: 16% of the children less than one year and 57% of the children under 7 years are beaten by their parents.
In 16% of families, children live without one or both parents due to migration, this phenomenon being particularly prevalent in poor and rural families. Generally, rural families are more affected by poverty: encounter difficulties in providing hygiene products and services, as well as ensuring adequate diet, fruits, vegetables, diary products and meat for their children.
“We believe the findings of the study will help the efforts of the Moldovan authorities to invest in programmes and complex services for young children and their parents. And the most important thing is to ensure the services to be available to the most vulnerable families”, mentioned UNICEF Representative in Moldova Alexandra Yuster.
“The first years are the most important for the growth and development of a child. This is why the Ministry of Education is willing to further improve the access of all children, including the most vulnerable ones, to community centers where there are no kindergartens. We also intend to improve professional skills of teachers and health workers so that the parents can enjoy the necessary support”, said the Chief of the Department of General and Secondary Education from the Ministry of Education, Valentin Crudu.
The “Family knowledge, attitudes and practices in the area of Early Childhood Care and Development 2009” survey was conducted last year and covered 1,800 families who have at least one children aged 0 to 7 years.