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Caribbean Education Experts Meet on Child-Friendly Schools

Jamaica, 16 February 2009 – Over 50 education experts from across the Caribbean are converging in Jamaica from 16-19 February to determine the best strategies for improving the quality of education of schools by making them child-friendly.

The event kicks off the first in a series of regional workshops around the world, as part of the Global Capacity Development Programme on Child-Friendly Schools (CFS), developed by the UNICEF Education section in New York. Minister of Education in Jamaica, Honourable Andrew Holness, embraced the CFS concept at the workshop’s opening session.

The global CFS programme is designed to equip schools with a package solution for quality education: a set of information and tools to create and strengthen child-friendly learning environments for all children in all circumstances.

The programme builds on investments that governments have already made to achieve education goals, including the establishment of quality standards. The regional workshops are a major step in assisting governments to build national capacity in creating child-friendly standards.

“As we approach the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, the establishment of child-friendly school standards in education systems is a powerful opportunity for governments to ensure that their investments in education yield lasting benefits for all children,” said Dr. Cream Wright, UNICEF’s Global Chief of Education, at the opening session of the workshop.

During the Jamaica workshop, experts will deliberate on the importance of child-centred classroom practices, welcoming school environments that promote learning and proper management of schools for quality. Participants will also discuss schools as a learning community, links between schools and the communities they serve as well as the overall role of government in facilitating quality standards through proper planning and budgeting.

Workshop participants include representatives from UNICEF Country Offices, government officials and partners from Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Nicaragua, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago and is seen as a “training of trainers” event. The CFS Reference Manual, which gives guidelines for decision makers, planners and education practitioners, will be introduced for the first time.

“UNICEF is prepared to accompany countries in this exciting venture of quality assurance in education,” said Dr. Wright.

For more information, please contact
Malli Kamimura, UNICEF New York, email: mkamimura@unicef.org
Allison Hickling, UNICEF Jamaica, phone: (876) 331-4548, email: ahickling@unicef.org
Tamar Hahn , UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean, thahn@unicef.org

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


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