UNICEF and Dep Ed host regional workshop on child-friendly schools in East Asia
Manila, 24th March 2009
UNICEF and the Department of Education are today opening a 4-day Global Capacity Development Programme on child-friendly schools (CFS) in East Asia and the Pacific. Participants from twelve countries around the region will attend the workshop at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Makati to collaborate and build on their efforts to create the best learning environment for a child.
In the Philippines, the Child-Friendly School initiative began in 1999 as part of the Fifth Country Programme for Children (CPC 5) of the Philippine Government and UNICEF. The creation of the child-friendly school network has brought together partners from the government, international agencies, NGOs, civil organizations, faith based organizations and communities to try and create the best learning environment for children. What is unique about the initiative is that it takes a ‘whole school’ approach, bringing in factors such as the school surroundings, role of parents, health of the child, design of classrooms and teaching methods as part of the model.
In the course of UNICEF’s work in countries over the past decade, CFS models have emerged as a “package solution” and a holistic instrument for pulling together a comprehensive range of quality interventions in education. CFS models are now the major means through which UNICEF advocates for and promotes quality in education. What is clear from UNICEF’s global experience is that there is no one way to promote child-friendly schools. Each country, each community, each school has varying needs and therefore need a range of options. The CFS model provides the flexibility that governments need to address a variety of situations so that a quality education will not be compromised, even in emergency situations.
Based on promising results with the CFS model in over sixty countries, UNICEF now seeks to mainstream CFS or similar models in all 154 countries in which is operates. The workshop aims to strengthen the understanding of CFS concept and serves as a venue for best practices sharing within the region.
Ms Ma. Lourdes de Vera-Mateo, UNICEF’s Chief of Education said:
“Using the child-friendly approach in the Philippines has helped put the child at the center of education development initiatives and in ensuring that children do not just complete schooling with good grades but also making sure they mature socially and emotionally and are primed to develop their full potential. ”
Secretary Jesli Lapus of DepED stated:
“UNICEF and DepED should now work together in integrating the key elements of the CFS approaches into the school system, particularly in the regular teacher in-service training programs of the Department, as teachers hold an important role in the holistic development of a child.”
Participants from the following countries will attend the meeting: Cambodia, China, Fiji, Lao, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Thailand and Vanuatu, as well as international educational experts from UNICEF and academic institutions.