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UNICEF continues with the “Preschool for All” campaign in the north of Montenegro

PLJEVLJA, Montenegro, 10 May 2016 - UNICEF and the Ministry of Education have launched the second phase of the “Preschool for All” campaign aimed at increasing the preschool enrolment rates in the north of Montenegro.


Panelists during the campaign’s launching event in Pljevlja  - UNICEF Montenegro / Du
ško Miljanić / 2016

The campaign, launched in the municipality of Pljevlja, 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.

Minister of Education Predrag Boskovic said that the Government, with its strategic reforms, set the preschool education as the key priority of the education reform in Montenegro.

“We have recognized that the key problem is very low coverage of children with preschool education. There are several reasons for it – one of them is that traditionally many parents have decided to keep the children with their grandparents rather than sending them to preschool institutions. Second reason is that incomes have traditionally been insufficient to set money aside for preschool education. Also, one of the key reasons why we have low coverage are insufficient capacities. Groups formed in preschool institutions are far above the regulated norm,” Boskovic said.

The latest data on preschool enrolment rates in Montenegro shows that the lowest enrolment rates are in the northern region of the country, where the existing preschool facilities may take in more children. For this reason, the “Preschool for All” campaign will be conducted in Kolasin, Mojkovac, Savnik, Zabljak, Pluzine and Pljevlja.

Ljubisa Curcic, deputy mayor of the Pljevlja municipality, believes that the “Preschool for All” campaign will bring great results “since we all share the same idea, and we all strive to increase the number of children enrolled in kindergartens in the municipalities in the north of Montenegro.”

UNICEF Representative to Montenegro Benjamin Perks during the launching of the campaign “Preschool for All” - UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2016

“Primarily this means raising awareness about the importance of early education for child development. Therefore, as every responsible local administration, we will give our full contribution to create conditions for the expansion of capacities for the development of preschool education in Pljevlja,” Curcic said.

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

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.

UNICEF Representative to Montenegro, Benjamin Perks, said that there is now a clear global consensus that preschool is important for the wellbeing of every child, their future education and lifelong development. Like many countries in the world, he warned, there is a huge inequality on preschool access between the poorest and the wealthiest citizens.

“So what any government could do if it wants to combat child poverty is try to ensure that every child has access to preschool education. Part of the reform is about ensuring that every child between three and six can get access to three hours of basic pedagogical education per working day. And we ask and encourage parents to take full advantage of that and bring their children forward to be registered in preschool throughout all of these municipalities that we are covering with the campaign”, Perks said.

Montenegrin Minister of Education Predrag Boskovic speaking at the event in Pljevlja - UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2016

Abela Popovic, director of kindergarten "Eko bajka“ in Pljevlja, pointed out that preschool education is the first, fundamental and most important link in the education process.

"I am convinced that the campaign will be useful, not just for us, but also for the parents, and the local community that will make efforts to provide all children access to preschool education. I hope that after this campaign our kindergarten will start developing,” Popovic said.

Aware of the exceptional importance of preschool education for early childhood development, in spring of 2015, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education launched the campaign "Preschool for All" in five municipalities in the north of Montenegro - Bijelo Polje, Berane, Rozaje, Plav and Andrijevica.

The first results were promising - 43 percent of parents in these municipalities said that the campaign encouraged them personally to enroll their children in preschool, while the preschool enrollment in the municipalities where the campaign was conducted increased by up to 25 per cent compared to the previous year.



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