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Child-friendly schools making inroads in Uzbekistan

© UNICEF Uzbekistan/2010/Pirozzi
Matluba Ibragimova, a teacher at a Child Friendly School in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, leads a lesson.

By Nigina Baykabulova

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 5 April 2010 – Children from 850 schools in Uzbekistan will enjoy reading the classics as part of a child-friendly schools programme being implemented there with UNICEF and IKEA Social Initiative Fund support.

Over 34,000 copies of classic books were handed over − by UNICEF in Tashkent on 30 March 2010 − to the Ministry of Public Education.

“Printing of these books is part of a broader cooperation between UNICEF and the Ministry of Public Education to create a more conducive learning environment and broaden children’s access to knowledge and information,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative in Uzbekistan Oyun Dendevnorov.

Child-friendly approach

The child-friendly schools (CFS) programme in Uzbekistan was designed to address the country’s challenges in basic and secondary education. With technical assistance from UNICEF, the Ministry of Public Education is currently implementing the CFS approach in 850 pilot schools in the regions of Karakalpakstan, Khorezm, Navoi, Ferghana and Tashkent, including the Tashkent urban area.

© UNICEF Uzbekistan/2010/Pirozzi
Sherzod Abdullayev, 14 (first from left), explains the rules of an interactive game to his peers. The young people are students at a UNICEF-supported child-friendly school in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Pilot schools follow participatory teaching methodologies and train teachers in using them effectively. Priority is given to building life skills of students, promoting child rights through classroom dynamics, and addressing issues of good hygiene and sanitation.

“A child-friendly school recognizes the importance of children’s ideas and encourages them to contribute to their own learning process,” says Matluba Ibragimova, a CFS teacher in Tashkent.

In child-friendly schools, parents are also encouraged to take an active interest in school management and be a part of the learning experience of their children. Teacher performance is also monitored and evaluated with tools that meet international CFS standards.

Making strides

An evaluation conducted in 2009 concluded that the CFS programme in Uzbekistan is significantly enhancing teachers’ skills. In addition, trust and mutual understanding between teachers and children has led to improved overall performance.

© UNICEF Uzbekistan/2010/Myasnikov
UNICEF Deputy Representative in Uzbekistan Oyun Dendevnorov (first from left) hands new books to a Ministry of Public Education official.

Parents of students in the project schools have also expressed great satisfaction with the CFS approach, noting the increased interest of their children in learning.

“Thanks to our teachers, school studies have become exciting,” said says Sherzod Abdullayev, 14, who is one of his school’s best performing students. “There is no time to get bored!”

Based on the positive results of the evaluation, the CFS coverage will be expanded to cover roughly 50 per cent of the schools in the country.



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