Overall situation improved but challenges remain in most preschools of Georgia
Public Defender’s Office of Georgia and UNICEF present the results of the 2019 monitoring of preschool institutions
Tbilisi, Georgia. September 9, 2020. Preschools in Georgia still face challenges related to infrastructure, lack of educational materials and equipment, overcrowding and an insufficient number of qualified staff despite the efforts of the state and the municipalities to improve the situation. These are the main findings from the monitoring of 143 preschools and educational institutions, carried out by the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia, with the support of UNICEF.
"The monitoring results showed that compared to the monitoring conducted by the Public Defender's Office in 2014, the situation in these institutions has improved, mainly on the issues of healthy and balanced nutrition of children, which should be considered as a successful step. However, despite the work done by the state and municipalities, a number of issues remain a challenge in kindergartens, which require more efforts from the relevant structures," said the Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria.
"The monitoring of preschools has demonstrated that many preschools lack necessary safe indoor and outdoor infrastructure, including water, sanitation and hygiene equipment to ensure the well-being and development of young children." - Amy Clancy
“Children learn and develop in a safe and stimulating environment, for which adequate space and infrastructure, nutrition and protection from violence is a must. Despite the adoption of national mandatory standards in 2017, the monitoring of preschools has demonstrated that many preschools lack necessary safe indoor and outdoor infrastructure, including water, sanitation and hygiene equipment to ensure the well-being and development of young children,” said Deputy Representative of UNICEF Georgia, Amy Clancy. “In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues are even more problematic and may potentially act as an additional barrier to accessing preschool education,” Clancy added.
The monitoring of preschools was carried out in 2019 and aimed to determine the situation in public preschool and educational institutions across the country, including compliance with national and international standards for the protection of children's rights. The report covered preschools in towns and villages of 46 municipalities across 10 regions of Georgia, including mountainous regions.
According to the report, the following trends were identified:
- The issue of insufficient space in kindergartens remains a challenge, which makes it impossible to arrange all the necessary rooms in the building or to allocate adequate space for children. This problem is even more acute in kindergartens located in non-standard buildings.
- Apart from only few exceptions, kindergartens are not tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities and fail to ensure their full involvement.
- In the vast majority of kindergartens, playgrounds are not arranged according to the needs of children and their safety.
- There is a lack of adequate furniture, which is especially evident in bedrooms, classrooms and dining rooms.
- Kindergartens are rarely supplied with toys suitable for the age or number of children.
- The arrangement of toilets does not meet the needs of children, especially those with disabilities. At the same time, hot water supply remains a challenge in some of the kindergartens.
- Most kindergarten teachers and administration were trained on child abuse issues however they are not properly informed of referral procedures, which hinders the detection and timely response to cases of violence.
- Children with disabilities participate in 34 per cent of kindergartens, although only 14 per cent of the kindergartens have special educators. According to the kindergarten staff, the need for special educators is in fact much higher.
- Geographical accessibility of kindergartens is problematic: few villages (14 per cent) provide transportation of children to a nearby kindergarten.
The special report includes specific recommendations which, if implemented, will improve the situation of children in in preschool institutions.
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/georgia/