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UNICEF representatives meet with Minister Kasipović

Regional UNICEF Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Ms. Marie-Pierre Poirier and Representative of UNICEF BiH, Ms. Florence Bauer met on Wednesday 7. March with the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republika Srpska, Mr. Anton Kasipović, in Banja Luka. 

 “We would like to know how UNICEF can support inclusion and social protection of children. Your feedback about the program of Strengthening Social Protection and Inclusion Systems is very important for us. Do you see the Program as something valuable for the future, or merely as a project imposed on you from outside”, said Marie-Pierre Poirier at the opening of the meeting with Mr. Kasipović. She also emphasized the importance of multi-sectoral approach.

“Of course we do not regard SPIS as something imposed on us. This is an excellent project and it is our duty to become even more active in resolving issues of social protection and inclusion. The most vulnerable categories of children are special needs children, children from broken families and children from rural and distant areas, as well as Roma children”, said Kasipović. He particularly emphasized the problem of rural areas in which there are around 500 schools with three to 10 students. Such schools have been shut down on a daily basis. 

“The problem is that these children are deprived of childhood and opportunities for socialization. Our response is to transport the children to large schools in cities or larger towns. Parents then often see this as a problem, because the school is the only thing they have in their villages. The termination of school thus symbolizes the disappearing of the village. Today, parents display a more positive attitude, because they can see the positive effects of socialization on their children. Nevertheless, we expect that people who do not manage to find work in urban centers will return to the countryside in future. They have to be provided with much more than just a road.” said Kasipović.

Marie-Pierre Poirier and Florence Bauer have added that regardless of currently low numbers of school children in villages, the villages must not lose the schools in whichever form, at least until the current situation improves. Ms. Bauer presented the possibility of organizing other types of training and education in schools and having teachers trained for educators. Kasipović saw that as a very useful proposal and announced the possibility of piloting this option in one of the municipalities.
“Schools must not disappear. They can restructure, and once people return to villages, they can reopen”, UNICEF representatives and Kasipović agreed. 





Predstavnice UNICEF-a na sastanku sa ministrom Kasipovićem


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