Urgent call for an increase in the number of Roma mediators and teaching assistants
UNICEF is calling upon the national and local authorities to urgently increase the number of teaching assistants for children with developmental disabilities and Roma mediators
PODGORICA, 22 SEPTEMBER 2023 – On the occasion of the beginning of the new school year, UNICEF is calling upon the national and local authorities to urgently increase the number of teaching assistants for children with developmental disabilities and Roma mediators, as well as to provide free transportation to school for those children in need.
As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Montenegro has committed to ensuring every girl and boy’s right to a high-quality and inclusive education.
This is the only way for Montenegro to reduce poverty and provide equal opportunities for all its citizens. Providing teaching assistants to every child with developmental disabilities in need is crucial for providing high-quality, inclusive education.
To ensure quality, inclusive education, the Ministry of Education must carry out a thorough analysis of the current situation regarding the number and status of teaching assistants in consultation with all stakeholders, including schools, kindergartens, teachers, educational specialists, assistants, parents, as well as children and young people.
It is only through the insights and recommendations drawn from this analysis, along with updated enrolment data for children with developmental disabilities, that the Ministry of Education can allocate an appropriate number of teaching assistants at the start of each school year and ensure their sustained financing within the educational system.
When it comes to the education of Roma and Egyptian children, an urgent increase in the number of Roma mediators and the provision of free transportation are necessary to increase the enrolment of these children in the education system. Presently, only 16 per cent of Roma and Egyptian children attend preschool institutions, 56 per cent complete primary school, while 3 per cent complete secondary school in Montenegro.
Roma mediators foster better cooperation between Roma and Egyptian families and educational institutions.
According to data from the NGO HELP, there are only about 40 Roma mediators in Montenegro, and there is no sustainable funding from national and local authorities for all Roma mediators.
Quality education for every child from the Roma and Egyptian communities is the only way to ensure their escape from poverty.
Therefore, it is crucial to urgently increase the number of Roma mediators and provide free transportation to all students in need.
Improving the status of minority groups, especially those in the most vulnerable situations, such as the Roma and Egyptian communities, is one of the criteria for Montenegro’s accession to the EU.