New government must provide quality education to every child in Montenegro
UNICEF, NGO Parents, Teachers’ Association, the National Association of Parents of Children and Youth with Disabilities and NGO Young Roma are calling upon all political actors to commit to investing sufficient funds to finance new schools
PODGORICA, 29 MAY 2023 – In response to the key findings of the recently launched Education Sector Analysis 2015–2020, the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF, NGO Parents, Teachers’ Association, NGO Nardos – the National Association of Parents of Children and Youth with Disabilities, and NGO Young Roma are calling upon all political actors to commit, once the new parliament and new government are constituted, to ensuring that sufficient funds are invested to finance new school and preschool facilities, to adequately equip all schools with new technologies, provide continuous professional development of all teachers, and quality, inclusive educational support for all children, including those with disabilities and from the Roma and Egyptian communities.
As a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Montenegro has committed itself to guaranteeing the right to quality, inclusive education for every girl and boy.
What the new government will do about the education system will affect every girl and boy and every citizen of this country. Quality education is the sustainable path out of the cycle of poverty. Quality education is essential for Montenegro’s development and economic growth. Citizens have a chance to influence such decisions by prioritizing children at elections.
The key findings of the recently launched Education Sector Analysis 2015–2020 show that: two out of every three children in Montenegro attend elementary schools with insufficient infrastructure; there are, on average, 16 students per computer in primary and secondary schools; only one in four teachers attend programmes for professional development on an annual basis; and children growing up in poverty attend kindergarten, primary and secondary school to a much lower degree than their peers.
We are calling on all political actors, should they become part of the new government, to commit to providing every teacher and student with adequate learning spaces and free access to the internet, digital and assistive technologies in schools and kindergartens. Allocating more resources to continuous professional development and advocating for the principles of meritocracy and decentralization of the education system are extremely necessary if Montenegro is to strive to achieve higher quality education. We extend our invitation to all political actors to commit to making this a reality for every teacher and every student in this country.
To reduce poverty in Montenegro, high-quality education must be provided to all children from poor families, Roma children and children with disabilities from the first years of life.
It is high time in the 21st century that our children have a sufficient number of kindergartens and schools and spend time in adequate spatial conditions. This entails well-equipped classrooms, functioning toilets and access to drinking water, in schools that are heated and close to their place of residence, so that children living in rural areas do not have to walk long distances to school without organized transportation. We also expect future decision-makers to give special attention to textbooks and the quality of their content, as well as to the needs of parents who need support in the form of primary school day-care for their six- and seven-year-olds when they start school.
The National Association of Parents of Children and Youth with Disabilities in Montenegro – NARDOSpoints out the need to provide necessary study tools for children with disabilities and to organize additional education for teachers so that they can provide quality, inclusive education to every child in Montenegro.
We invite all political actors, should they become part of the new government, to commit to respecting and implementing the recommendations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to ensuring and enabling the functional inclusion of children with disabilities without barriers, in accordance with their needs and capabilities. These children have the right to special care, education and training, which will help them lead dignified lives and attain the highest level of independence possible.
When it comes to Roma students, obstacles to their education are numerous, while the importance of education for them to end poverty is crucial.
We are calling on political actors, both current and prospective, to support the supplementary programmes that have proven successful, such as mentoring support for Roma children in primary and secondary schools. It is necessary to pay special attention to preschool education, considering that we still have kindergartens attended by Roma children only. It is also necessary to continue offering scholarships in secondary schools and university faculties with a strong emphasis on providing opportunities for paid practice and/or internship programmes in municipal/state enterprises.
According to the latest census, children up to 18 years of age make up almost one quarter of Montenegro’s population. In addition to affecting all of them, the quality of education for every child in Montenegro also affects their parents, grandparents, teachers and all citizens of the country, as education is a clear path to ending poverty.
Therefore, what the new government will do to reform the education system affects every person living in Montenegro. For these reasons, parliamentary elections campaigns provide the opportunity to address this fundamental human right which is at the heart of Montenegro’s development.
UNICEF is the world’s leading source of credible data and analysis on children, using evidence to advocate for children and policies that improve their lives.
UNICEF works with governments and communities in more than 190 countries and territories to support children worldwide to realize their rights and fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF’s work for children is recognized by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.