UNICEF in action
UNICEF IN ACTION
Under its current programme of cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka (2013-2017), UNICEF works with partners in the Ministry of Education and its provincial departments to contribute to increases in pre-primary enrollment as well as the to ensure completion of compulsory education in low-performing districts.
Specifically, UNICEF supports:
The Scaling up of Child Friendly Education
UNICEF has assisted MoE to introduce child-friendly standards in over 1500 schools in Sri Lanka. UNICEF is currently working with MoE and Provincial Authorities to expand the Child Friendly Approach (CFA) to other primary schools in the country by improving monitoring, data management and activity based teaching methodologies to promote better learning outcomes. As a result of these improvements, schools that have implemented child friendly approaches are well ahead of district averages in terms of numbers of students reaching Grade 5; while overall attendance rates (improved by 10 percentage points), and learning achievements on Grade 5 exams (increased by 8 percentage points between 2009 and 2012). The national government has decided to introduce CFA to 5000 primary schools across the island. UNICEF has set-up a special unit at the Presidential Secretariat to harness different sectors in the promotion of CFA.
Education for Integration and Social Cohesion
In order to overcome some of the social divides related to nearly 30 years of conflict and a largely segregated school system UNICEF has expanded support to school-level intercultural exchange programmes and Child Friendly School exchange visits among Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim schools, as well as interactions among parents, to promote respect for other cultures and religions. Capacity building opportunities for principals and teachers, especially in the North and East, have been provided to promote school-based social cohesion and the sharing of experiences to enhance effective school management.
UNICEF is currently working with MoE to review the policy on social cohesion, integrate social cohesion into the curriculum and to identify and develop selected number of socially integrated schools.
Reaching Out of School Children
A total of 35,000 teachers, principals, education officers and community members have been provided with the skills to identify and reintegrate out-of-school children. In 2012 some 10,000 out-of-school children have received catch-up education, and 30,000 students displaced during the conflict were supported to re-enter the formal school system. UNICEF continues to support the Ministry of Education to strengthen monitoring and data collection systems to track drop-outs and find ways through School Development Societies to keep children in school.
Quality Early Childhood Education
Quality early childhood experiences are essential to brain development and lay strong foundations for future learning. UNICEF promotes quality preschools, including support to develop assessment systems, standards, pilot model pre-schools and strengthen teacher training in key vulnerable districts.
 Review of Basic Education Support Programme 2012, based on figures between 2009-2011. The 6 districts are Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla and Monaragala.