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UNICEF and Department of Education host regional workshop on child-friendly schools in East Asia

MANILA, 24 March 2009 - UNICEF and the Department of Education (DepEd) are launching a four day on child-friendly schools (CFS) in East Asia and the Pacific.

The workshop is part of the Global Capacity Development Programme on Child-Friendly Schools (CFS), developed by the UNICEF Education section in New York that is being rolled out in all regions around the globe. It aims to provide practical guidance on advocating for and supporting the mainstreaming of CFS. It gives a set of tools to create and strengthen child-friendly learning environments for all children in all circumstances.

In the Philippines, the Child-Friendly School initiative began in 1999 as part of the Fifth Country Programme for Children (CPC 5) of the Philippine Government and UNICEF. The creation of the child-friendly school network has brought together partners from the government, international agencies, NGOs, civil organizations, faith based organizations and communities to try and create the best learning environment for children.

In the course of UNICEF’s work in countries over the past decade, CFS models have emerged as a “package solution” and a holistic instrument for pulling together a comprehensive range of quality interventions in education. What is clear from UNICEF’s global experience is that there is no one way to promote child-friendly schools. The CFS model provides the flexibility that governments need to address a variety of situations so that a quality education will not be compromised, even in emergency situations.

Participants from the following countries will attend the meeting: Cambodia, China, Fiji, Lao, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Thailand and Vanuatu, as well as international educational experts from UNICEF and academic institutions to discuss the importance of child-centred classroom practices, CFS school design and construction and school environments that are safe and protective of children and that promote learning. The workshop will also explore the issue of schools as a learning community including creating school ethos, links between schools and the communities they serve as well as overall role of government in facilitating quality standards through proper planning and budgeting.

Ms Ma. Lourdes de Vera-Mateo, UNICEF’s Chief of Education said: “Using the child-friendly approach in the Philippines has helped put the child at the center of education development initiatives and in  ensuring that children do  not just complete schooling with good grades but also making sure they mature socially and emotionally and are primed to develop their full potential.”

Secretary Jesli Lapus of DepED stated: “UNICEF and DepED should now work together in integrating the key elements of the CFS approaches into the school system, particularly in the regular teacher in-service training programs of the Department, as teachers hold an important role in the holistic development of a child.”   

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 has been operating in the Philippines for 60 years working for health and education of children and protection of their rights.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information please contact:

Angela Travis, UNICEF Philippines, Tel: ++632 901-0177, ++632 917.867.8366, atravis@unicef.org
Marge Francia, UNICEF Philippines, Tel: ++632 901-0173, ++632 917.858.9447, mfrancia@unicef.org
Director Yolanda Quijano, Bureau of Elementary Education, Department of Education, Tel ++632 637-4347, bee_director@yahoo.com




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