Tbilisi, December 25, 2017. All Children, especially the most disadvantaged, should enjoy early and pre-school education that is free, quality and accessible.
According to UNICEF studies, while the attendance of young children in preschools increased over the last few years, almost half of all children in Georgia still do not have access to early childhood education. Inequities persist with significantly lower attendance rates for children living in rural areas, children living in poverty, children with disabilities and ethnic minority children.
UNICEF expresses concern that introduction of payments might further widen the inequality between children from urban and wealthier families and those from poor and rural families.
UNICEF supports early education for its “equalizing” potential and fees can create the opposite dynamic. After introducing charges, public pre-schools are open to market forces that privilege the wealthier sections of society and exclude the poorer ones.
The Law on Early and Preschool Education and Care guarantees free, universal and accessible preschool education for every child, and introduces national standards and the preschool authorization system. Implementation of the law requires increased investment in the sector, the capacity-building of municipal governments and strengthened systems for quality in-service and pre-service training programmes for early childhood educators.
UNICEF reiterates its commitment to provide continues support to the Government of Georgia in implementation of the Law on Early and Preschool Education and Care.
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.