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“Preschool for All” campaign launched in the north of Montenegro

BIJELO POLJE, Montenegro, 31 March 2015 - UNICEF and the Ministry of Education have launched the “Preschool for All” campaign aimed at increasing the preschool enrolment rates in the north of Montenegro.  

The campaign, launched in the town of Bijelo Polje, is part of a broader initiative of Montenegro, which is supported by UNICEF and aims to achieve 100 percent preschool coverage of children aged 3 to 6 until 2020.

Panelists during the launching event of the campaign “Preschool for All” – UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2015

"The awareness of how important is the pre-school education is something that I think should be the first message of today’s gathering, since it enables preschoolers to be part of a broader community. As someone who has dealt with economics all life, I can say that on one invested euro in pre-school education, you later get even up to 17 euro return. That is absolutely the greatest return on any investment that a country can make in any segment of society," pointed out Minister of Education Predrag Boskovic.  

The latest preschool enrolment rates in Montenegro are the lowest in the northern region, where the existing preschool facilities may take in more children. For this reason, the “Preschool for All” campaign will be conducted in Bijelo Polje, Berane, Rozaje, Plav, and Andrijevica.  

Mayor of Bijelo Polje, Aleksandar Zuric, said that „aware of the importance of pre-school education for the early development and for learning the skills that a child cannot learn at home, municipality of Bijelo Polje will continue, together with its partners, with a dedicated work on improving quality, as well as the enrolment rates in preschool education. Now, in Bijelo Polje, the rate of children’s participation in preschool is 60 percent out of the total number of children registered for the entry,” he added.

The key findings of the survey conducted among the parents of children aged 3-6 who do not attend preschools and live in the north of Montenegro indicate that over 60 per cent of them say they lack information on the work of preschools.  

UNICEF Representative in Montenegro, Benjamin Perks, giving the introductory speech at the launching of the campaign – UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2015

The greatest share of parents say there is someone at home to take care of them and one in four parents believe children should not start learning before enrolling in school.  

"We see now there is evidence that preschool contributes very much, not only to life outcomes, but also to school outcomes in primary and secondary school. And, as the PISA study told us last year, those fifteen-year olds that went to preschool between the age of three and six are a year ahead of those that did not, in maths, science and reading. It is good to see so many teachers here today who will recognize the importance of preschool preparedness for children when they arrive on the first day of primary school, through having been to preschool," stated Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Representative in Montenegro.  

The same survey has found that one in five parents believe the primary role of preschools is to serve as a day-care and be of assistance to working parents, failing to recognise the key relevance of preschool education for early childhood development and for learning the skills that children do not normally learn at home.

"Enrollment in preschool is not enough. Just going to preschool is not enough. Most children going to preschool is not enough. We want every child to go to preschool, whether the child is rich or poor, whether the child comes from minority or from the mainstream, whether the child comes from a distant place or a close-by place, every child has a right to full development and a right to learning," said Deepa Grover, Regional Adviser for Early Childhood Development in UNICEF Regional Office in Geneva.  

"And it is not always obvious, maybe to us, but not to all parents, that actually learning from 3 to 6 in a small group for three hours per day, five days per week, makes a great difference for the extent to which children have success during vocational education and higher education, and even later in life," pointed out Jan van Ravens, Yale University professor.

Many celebrities have joined and become friends of the campaign “Preschool for All” like Dubravka Drakic, Momcilo Otasevic, Bojan Marovic, Nina Zizic, Aleksandar Radunovic, Marija Perovic, Dragan Adzic, Andjela Bulatovic and others.  

Thanks to the campaign partners – the Faculty for Preschool Education, the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, the Art School for Music and Ballet “Vasa Pavic“, the NGO “Pedagogical Centre“, the municipalities involved and local preschools – artistic and educational events for parents and preschool children will take place in April, May and June in Bijelo Polje, Berane, Rozaje, Andrijevica and Plav with the aim of increasing the preschool enrolment rates.



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