Tirana, 13 September 2016 – On the first day of school, UNICEF wishes every child in Albania a successful academic year. To mark this day, UNICEF’s team visited this morning the ”Androkli Kostallari” school in Tirana, which is an inclusive education pioneer school with 603 students out of which 10 per cent are Roma and children with disability. The school has been part of the inclusive education project supported by UNICEF which aims to develop the capacities and skills of teachers so that boys and girls with different abilities and from different backgrounds can all learn together.
“Today, I am witnessing the joy of children at their first day at school, and the enthusiasm with which Roma and children with disabilities are being guaranteed quality learning as a basic right. In line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has a right to receive quality education and UNICEF will continue to contribute to strengthening the education system to ensure that all children have equal opportunities to develop and thrive to their full potential “said UNICEF representative, Antonella Scolamiero.
With UNICEF support, the inclusive education modules have been introduced in the Albanian education system with teacher training reaching 100 per cent of teachers teaching in grade 2, 7 and 10. Teacher training has been placed at the centre of the inclusive school model through the Inclusive Teacher Profile that was recently approved by Ministry of Education and Sports. The profile is the basis for shaping teachers practices in the in-service as well as for influencing the curricula of the universities that would need to prepare teachers based on this profile.
Albania has taken significant strides to close the gaps in equity in its education system and has made many accomplishments in pre-school and primary education. However, several challenges remain. About half of young Roma children still do not have access to pre-primary education, while up to 40 per cent of Roma aged 6-14 have never attended school. The out-of-school children category also includes many children with disabilities. Public spending for education is 3.5 per cent of GDP, a level significantly lower than the average of 6.3 per cent for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
UNICEF Albania is determined to uphold the rights of vulnerable children to access education early on in life, mindful that the earlier the investment in the education of Roma and vulnerable children, the greater their opportunity to break the vicious circle of poverty and exclusion.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.