Union of municipalities supports providing spaces for safe offline classes
Union of municipalities of Montenegro joins UNICEF's appeal to open schools while respecting all epidemiological measures
PODGORICA, APRIL 22, 2021 – Union of municipalities of Montenegro joins UNICEF's appeal to open schools while respecting all epidemiological measures. Moreover, Union of Municipalities is ready to support quality, inclusive education during the pandemic through a collaboration between municipal authorities, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports and the Institute for Public Health aimed at providing spaces in local communities for offline classes to be organized safely.
Having municipal authorities provide indoor and outdoor spaces for preschool, primary and secondary education as needed would help resolve the problem of overcrowded schools and preschools. It would also allow children living in poverty who do not have digital devices and digital skills to follow online classes to continue safely with their education offline during the pandemic.
This kind of support from municipal authorities would also mean that spaces could be identified for various extracurricular activities to be organized in local communities during the pandemic. After one year of isolation, this would be quite meaningful for children's learning, physical and mental health.
One year absence from classes due to the pandemic for sure left negative consequences on the education and development of children and youth. Having in mind the significance of socialization and institutional support to the education of children, we fully support UNICEF's appeal and we will get involved in joint efforts of all institutions to provide the necessary conditions for direct (offline) teaching, which will best respond to the needs of children after a long period of isolation.
Cooperation of municipal authorities with schools is part of local policies for youth anyway.
The Union of Municipalities will use its organizational structures and communication channels to provide full support to the joint work of municipal authorities, educational institutions and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports. Together, we can organize the work of educational institutions in a way to include as many children as possible with direct (offline) teaching in a safe environment. Quality support to the educational process will contribute to the implementation of the policies for young people at the local level. This is the interest and strategic goal of every local community.
According to UNICEF Montenegro Representative Juan Santander, collaboration between municipal authorities and schools would help prepare the next school year to be more inclusive and of a much better quality. It would also allow schools to stay open until the end of the pandemic.
Both local and national authorities have a duty to work together to organize safe, inclusive and quality education for every child during the pandemic. This is what their responsibility towards Montenegro's children, parents and citizens is. UNICEF is ready to support these efforts.
UNICEF is also ready to support a dialogue between municipal authorities and the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare to identify sustainable sources of funding for day care centres for children with disabilities and for other social and child protection services. UNICEF and the Union of municipalities will also work together on promoting MMR immunization across the country.