Minister of Education Mr. Zeferino Martins opens global capacity building workshop on Child Friendly Schools
MAPUTO, Mozambique, 11 April 2011 – At the opening of a global capacity building workshop on Child Friendly Schools, which takes place in Maputo, Mozambique, over the four days from 11 April to 14 April, Minister of Education Zeferino Martins extended a warm welcome to the workshop participants. Following his opening speech, the Minister took time to meet with visiting education officials and professionals from Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Timor L’este – countries with Portuguese as their official language – who were represented at the workshop.
“Child Friendly Schools are important,” said the Minister. “We know that for many children, their school can be a scary place rather than a friendly place. Sometimes the children enter an environment where they have to speak Portuguese for the first time and sometimes there is violence,” the Minister continued. He emphasized that the Government is determined to face the challenges of violence and pre-mature marriages and spoke of the Government’s efforts to promote hygiene in schools and fight corruption in the system. The Minister mentioned that the Government is in the process of finalizing its strategic plan for the period 2012-2016, which focuses on improved access to education and pre-primary education, among other objectives.
“We are counting on the continued support of UNICEF,” the Minister concluded.
In her speech to the workshop participants, Ms. Changu Mannathoko, Senior Advisor at UNICEF headquarters in New York, emphasized the need to strengthen the link between Child Friendly School programs and planning in the educational sector. According to Ms. Mannathoko, one of UNICEF’s key roles is to help governments scale up good practice in the education sector, and she saw the present workshop as one important way of supporting such a process.
Using Mozambique as an example, she said that while many other countries had started implementing CFS programs soon after the initiative was born, Mozambique had first established a baseline against which to measure progress, and by doing so, had actually been able to progress faster and receive more funding for the CFS program than most other countries. UNICEF Representative Jesper Morch also offered praise to Mozambique.
“Mozambique is to be congratulated on showing dramatic achievements in school completion rates and on reaching over 360,000 children across seven districts in the country through the Child Friendly School program,” he said.
While there are still challenges to be addressed in Mozambique, the country’s leadership in multi-sectoral collaboration, especially at the provincial and local levels, towards promoting a quality school environment is an outstanding example for others to follow, according to the UNICEF Representative.
“We hope that this global workshop can be the start of a process of developing and strengthening partnerships among Portuguese-speaking countries on Child Friendly Schools,” concluded Mr. Morch.
For more information, please contact:
Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: email@example.com
Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: firstname.lastname@example.org