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GDF SUEZ Energy Romania helps ensure “The future starts in school”

UNICEF and GDF SUEZ Energy Romania, a branch of the world energy leader GDF SUEZ, have formed a partnership agreement to carry out the project “The future starts in school”, which is aimed at increasing school attendance and decreasing the school dropout rate. The project started in September and will run for two years in schools from 16 disadvantaged communities in the counties of Călăraşi, Braşov, Vrancea, Covasna and Tulcea.

“The main outcome we expect from this project is an increase in the school attendance rate and a decrease in the risk of dropout among children from disadvantaged environments. The direct beneficiaries of the project will be children at a high risk of becoming school dropouts or who have already dropped out of school; children who have never been to school, and their families; the teaching staff in schools; and the school management teams,” said the UNICEF Romania Representative, Edmond McLoughney.

While in the last decade schools in Romania have been the beneficiaries of various projects, the idea for this initiative came in response to the conclusions of an investigation into the causes of the school dropout rate in the counties of Giurgiu and Călăraşi, which highlighted how big the impact of school-related factors was in school dropout cases.

The project funded by GDF SUEZ, “The future starts in school”, is mainly intended to facilitate community interventions, using the EPA (Education Priority Areas) model. A gradual approach will be taken to achieve this goal, through activities aimed at the motivation, training and empowerment of teachers, directors and parents, as well as other community members. To this end, the main activities centre on:
• The identification of children at high risk of becoming school dropouts or who have already dropped out of school, and the determination of the main causes of school dropout,
• A review of the current curricula and teaching materials underpinning the training of teachers, school managers, parents and other community members,
• The organisation and implementation of training and support activities for teachers and school managers, as well as parents and community representatives. Modest school investment in the selected communities and an intervention plan put into effect in each school in the selected communities.

The intervention will be implemented jointly with and for the benefit of the local school and community. Consequently, the schools will take part in all information, facilitation, training and counselling activities, which are directed at the parents and other community members, while the joint learning activities will have a direct impact on schools.

In line with the EPA intervention model, the main aims of this project are: to adjust the provision of education to the needs of students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds; to increase the quality of education services with respect to the curricula, teaching materials and learning environment; and to empower parents and increase their involvement, as well as that of the public authorities and private sector in all school decisions. The bottom line is that all children in these 16 communities complete, at a minimum, 10 years of compulsory education.



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