UNICEF works to ensure all children are in school, and are receiving a quality education.
Every child has the right to education. The quality of education is ultimately determined by the learning outcomes that students take from school and the competencies they will carry into their future life and labour market.
In Moldova, in spite of educational reforms implemented since its independence, there is a continuing decline in successful pass rates of the secondary general education exams. More than half of students are only partially competent in reading, mathematics, or science and are lagging far behind their peers in neighbouring countries.
While school attendance rates are high for both primary and secondary levels, rural children are more likely than others to be out of the classroom, especially at secondary school age. Roma children attendance rates are much lower at all educational levels. Some children never enrol at all, some enter school later than they should and some drop out.
While 90 per cent of rural Moldovan children attend primary school, only 85 per cent attend lower secondary schools.
In the last decade Moldova has invested heavily in the reconstruction and development of kindergartens to ensure the right of children to early education. With the support of external donors, public-private partnerships, local authorities and parents, 150 kindergartens and community centres were refurbished in most localities of the country. Today 84 per cent of children aged 3–6 years are attending kindergarten, twice as many as in 2000. Children now enjoy optimum conditions for their development, thanks to trained educators, stimulating toys and learning materials.
Still, there are children deprived of early education. While there are more pre-schools in Moldova compared to 10 years ago, one third of the rural children do not attend an early development programme compared to the universal access to kindergartens in urban areas.Children with disabilities and those from Roma and rural communities are among the most disadvantaged.
Only 20 per cent of Roma children attend a pre-school compared to 80 per cent of non-Roma children.
They have fewer opportunities to attend early education programmes: only 20 per cent of Roma children attend a pre-school compared to 80 per cent of non-Roma children.
Statistics also show that few parents read to their children, play with them and know the danger signs of illness and other problems. That is why additional efforts are needed to ensure that all children have a chance to go to preschool and learn, while parenting programmes are needed to help parents work with their children at home in a protective and stimulating environment.
We are working on improving quality and equity in education and encouraging the inclusion of children from all backgrounds in the education system.
We want all schools to become inclusive and child-centered for all children including children with disabilities. We help the government to develop and implement inclusive education policy.
UNICEF contributes to the training of health workers on child and maternal health care nationwide, enabling them to provide better quality services and communicate with parents about danger signs in pregnancy and child health, in addition to development milestones.
UNICEF supports motivating social and health workers to identify and provide additional services to vulnerable children and pregnant women. UNICEF Moldova pays special attention to the role of home-visiting nurses in child development, while linking families with referral systems and other social services to strengthen nurturing care.