Promotion of inclusive education
UNICEF advocates for the social inclusion of children with disabilities that includes access and quality of early learning for all children and extending child-friendly principles to pre-school and primary education.
With 31 per cent of Turkmenistan’s population aged 14 and younger, high quality and inclusive education are essential for national human development and economic growth. It allows an individual not only to obtain the necessary skills and be gainfully employed but also adopt the social values of the community. A strong suite of laws, policies, and programmes lay the foundation for getting all school-aged children into schools and ensuring learner-friendly school environments.
Turkmenistan enjoys high rates of primary and secondary school attendance. The policy framework on early childhood development allowed UNICEF and the Government to model innovative and replicable forms of quality pre-school and pre-primary education and learning.
However, access to pre-primary education stands at only 46 per cent and children with disabilities are still not part of the regular education system.
Pre-primary education in rural area is 29 per cent and urban is 71 per cent, which shows a significant gap in education for children in cities and rural areas.
UNICEF supports the Ministry of Education in designing standards for pre-primary education, including mainstreaming children with disabilities into education programmes, ensuring child-centred and participatory learning environments, and relevant play-based and age-appropriate teaching methods. UNICEF and partners also advocate for barrier-free environment for children with disabilities as well as promotes more favourable social and cultural norms.
UNICEF contributes to strengthening knowledge and skills to provide quality education services, updating in training/retraining programmes, developing curricula and standards, as well as providing quality assurance and assessment instruments.
To ensure universal preschool enrollment of all children, the Government opened parent educational centres and their branches, which are available for parents and children of pre-school age, including children with disabilities who do not attend pre-school institutions. These centres were opened with UNICEF’s support on the basis of existing kindergartens and secondary schools, in urban and rural areas. Children are prepared for school in these centres, and parents are provided with methodological and consulting assistance in child development and preparing them for school at home. They are also provided with services to improve their parenting skills.
Each school organizes entry to school preparation sessions for preschool-age children living in school catchment areas during the summer months.