UNICEF establishes two preschool services in Lori marz with the financial support of the European Union
04 August 2022
Children in Saratovka and Karkop settlements will benefit from early learning.
In coordination with the RA Ministries of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, and of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, Lori regional authorities and other partners, and with the support of the European Union, UNICEF established two new preschool services in Saratovka settlement of Tashir consolidated community and Karkop settlement of Shnogh consolidated community.
Within the framework of the Future Today project, funded by the European Union, UNICEF partnered with the local municipalities to renovate and refurbish the allocated rooms and bathrooms, and joined efforts with the Step-by-Step Foundation to ensure selection and training of teachers, and to provide the new centers with educational materials, toys, books and games. Solar panels were also installed to reduce heating and, consequently, maintenance costs. Within the framework of the program, trainings were organized for caregivers who can take on the role of preschool teacher, providing them with new methodologies of working with young children, especially in mixed age groups. Teachers will then receive additional training and support from the nearest formal kindergarden. Local municipalities are committed to sustain the established services through allocation of funds for recurrent costs such as teacher salaries and utilities.
“High-quality early childhood education and care lays the foundations for later success in life in terms of education, well-being, employability and social integration. Moreover, by providing access to early childhood education and care in local communities, we also provide women with new opportunities, to engage in and design activities based on their needs,” noted Bruno Montariol, International Aid/Cooperation Officer at Delegation of the European Union to Armenia.
According to the State Program for Development of Education in the Republic of Armenia (approved by Government on July 27, 2022), by 2030 affordable preschool services should be available in all settlements of Armenia, and accessible for all families, and moreover, all children should be included in preschool programs for at least one year before going to school. This alternative model of preschools for rural communities offers an affordable and effective way to scale up coverage across Armenia and is an integral part of the national pre-school education policy as reflected in the 2021 Law on Preschool Education.
“This year UNICEF, with support of EU, established already three new preschool services in Syunik region and 2 new preschool services in Lori region. Today, by establishing another 2 preschool services in Karkop and Saratovka settlements of Lori region, we are moving two steps forward towards universal enrollment. Yet there is still a long journey ahead, as there are about 229 settlements that do not have a preschool. Therefore, in the coming years, we will continue to support the Government both in the expansion of the network of preschool services in rural communities, and in improving the quality of early learning services in general,” noted Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia.
Over 90 children aged 0-6 living in Karkop and Saratovka will now be able to attend early learning centres right in their villages before they start school. Moreover, thanks to the Government subsidy provided to Karkop settlement, in the near future, on the basis of this alternative service, a state program of preschool education will be built in Karkop.
With support of the European Union, UNICEF will establish preschool services in another 18 settlements across Armenia, moving 18 steps forward towards a big dream, SDG 4.2 and one of the goals of the State Program for Development of Education by 2030 – a quality early learning #foreverychild, whoever she is, wherever he lives.