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The number of children with disabilities enrolled in mainstream education in 2018 is 10 times as large as in 2009. While keeping the focus on enabling access to regular schools for children with disabilities, UNICEF is investing a great deal of effort into supporting its partner institutions and schools to improve the quality of the education provided to children with disabilities. The support ranges from building the capacities of preschools to provide early intervention support to children with disabilities, to enabling the use of quality and innovative teaching and learning materials – such as digital textbooks, i.e. textbooks in the DAISY format – to strengthening the capacities of Resource Centres to provide support to regular schools.
UNICEF is focusing on developing policies, such as the newly adopted Strategy for Inclusive Education (2019–2025), aimed at improving an inclusive culture and practices at the school level and enabling all children with disabilities to receive high-quality education and care.
Early childhood education and care
A UNICEF social change campaign conducted in 2015 and 2016 in the municipalities in the north of the country led to an increase in the preschool education enrolment rate by 22 per cent on average in comparison to the years before the campaign.
UNICEF is focusing on improving the equity and inclusiveness of preschool education. To enable access to kindergarten to children living in rural areas, outreach preschool services were established in 16 municipalities in all regions.
To enhance the quality of education in Montenegro, UNICEF launched an initiative in cooperation with the Ministry of Education aimed at integrating socio-emotional skills/21st-century skills into the regular teaching and learning. UNICEF Montenegro drew on other countries’ experiences – mainly those of the University of Birmingham’s Jubilee Centre – to reform primary and secondary school study courses, as well as educational legislation, so that social and emotional skills could be integrated into the subject curricula. The programme is currently running in 46 primary and secondary schools, reaching nearly 15,000 children and adolescents. In addition to this, it was adapted and implemented in out-of-school environments for the most vulnerable groups: children without parental care, children in contact with the law, children affected by poverty and Roma children.
In order to help improve the quality of education and enhance pupils’ achievements, UNICEF has been supporting the Ministry of Education to develop the National 2015 PISA Report, along with an Action Plan for its implementation for the period 2019–2022.