UNICEF and the Government of Uzbekistan continue cooperation in the safe re-opening of schools
UNICEF assists the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Public Education to ensure a safe environment in schools and timely responding to health and safety evolving requirements
TASHKENT, 20 October 2020 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has supported the Ministry of Health to deliver vital communication materials on safely re-opening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools across the country take measures to ensure a safe learning environment for both teachers and students.
This follows UNICEF’s support to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Education on the development of national health regulations and guidelines on safe school operations to equip children and staff with health messaging on COVID-19, preparing for re-opening, and for timely responding to health and safety evolving requirements.
“Schools re-opening planning in such a challenging period of COVID-19 was no trivial task for the Government. In this regard, it is important to sustain strategies in critical interrelated areas such as access to education provision; quality and inclusive learning; mental health and psycho-social support; and safe schools,” said Alisher Shadmanov, Minister of Health of Uzbekistan.
20,000 copies of guidelines on safe schools’ operations for administrative, pedagogical and technical staff, and 223,000 posters with health messages for students, staff, parents and communities have been produced with technical support from UNICEF and targeted at children, school staff, and communities.
UNICEF also provided animated videos in Uzbek, Russian and Karakalpak languages on the rules of attending schools during the COVID - 19 pandemic, proper handwashing, and maintaining respiratory hygiene.
“Guidelines and communication materials on creating safe environment will be delivered to more than 10,000 schools in the country and will help 6,2 million students and their parents to follow sanitary rules and protect their health,” said Sherzod Shermatov, Minister of Public Education of Uzbekistan.
In Uzbekistan, despite the challenges during the pandemic, schools have been reopened. Measures like handwashing stations, physical distancing, mask-wearing, and temperature checks are being integrated into school life.
“We must look at how schools reopen and respond to new realities – with flexible arrangements and more comprehensive support for children at the school including health, nutrition, psychosocial support and ensure minimum quality for accessible water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities,” said Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan. “UNICEF continues to advocate for prioritization of ongoing and future investments to ensure availability of quality services in all schools including those in rural and remote areas,” he added.
UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Public education on the second part of guidelines on safe schools re-opening - guidance on learning continuity which will release soon.
Notes to Editors
Children spend long hours in schools therefore it is very important that all schools have access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services. This will ensure that schools provide a safe and clean environment and do not become a hub for the transmission of COVID-19, especially as schools are reopened following lockdowns.
In Uzbekistan, there are, on average, only four handwashing outlets per school. Given the average number of students, this is not enough: during the first shift of the day, on average, there is only one handwashing facility for every 168 students, while during the second shift, a handwashing facility serves an average of 84 students. This challenge is more severe in populous urban schools than in rural or remote schools.
In terms of water and sanitation conditions, only 11 percent of schools have facilities that meet the criteria set by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene. Around 32 percent of schools have inadequate or limited services.
For more information, please contact:
Yana Chicherina, Education Officer
Phone: 99893 590 88 89
Nargiza Egamberdieva, Communication Officer
Phone: 99893 380 34 19
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.uz