Preschool children will get access to good quality children books
Tirana, 2 July 2010 – UNICEF joined forces with a series of donors to support the government in bringing books to 1,436 compulsory schools and 900 kindergartens. This commitment, known as "Albania Reads" is an effort of the Ministry of Education and Science supported by UNICEF to ensure that all children from urban and rural areas will be exposed to good quality books.
Few quality children’s books have been published in Albania in recent years, and even fewer have been available to students in preschools. Early language development is linked to exposure to a rich language environment, to high levels of communication and to good quality children literature and books. Most preschools have only very basic reading facilities, and very few books that are appropriate for this age group. This situation is worse in rural kindergartens. The “Reading Corners” are poorly developed, often not child friendly and out of reach of children.
Poor families, especially those in rural areas of the north, cannot afford to buy books. According to a 2007 survey supported by UNICEF in the North, 57 per cent of the families do not have any books at home while 28 per cent have 5 books and only 18 per cent have more than 6 books. As a result, a generation of children is growing up without books or encouragement to read.
However, thanks to the Albania Reads initiative, the situation has improved during the last 3 years due to the libraries provided to the almost all compulsory schools. The Ministry of Education and Science has also allocated funds for libraries in compulsory schools, but still much remains to be done for the pre-schools of Albania.
While the first stage of the Albania Reads project aimed at the compulsory schools is almost over, the second phase aims to provide 900 preschools with libraries focusing on poor communities, by latest 2011. The project also aims to train 900 teachers of preschools in introducing new effective pedagogical practices on early literacy.
For further information please contact the UNICEF office in Albania:
Anila Miria – UNICEF Communication Officer
Linda Bushati – UNICEF Project Officer for “Albania Reads“