500 thousand HRK for a better start in education
Forty children were included in the preschool programme at the newly renovated Jelas school
Slavonski Brod, 23 January 2018
Today in the newly renovated classrooms of the Jelas district school, the City of Slavonski Brod and UNICEF presented the second phase of the “Let’s Go Together” programme which aims to better include the children from the Josip Rimac settlement in preschool education and later in primary education.
This investment valued at HRK 520,000 involves equipping six classrooms of the Jelas district school with the desks, chairs, furniture and teaching equipment necessary for implementing a preschool programme, for the transport of children by bus, and for the professional development of preschool teachers focusing on including the children of the Roma national minority in the education system.
A total of 42 children, 22 of whom are children of the Roma national minority, are included in two integrated preschool groups at the Jelas district school.
Hrvoje Andrić, Deputy Mayor of Slavonski Brod, said: “As a Child-Friendly City, Slavonski Brod is continuously and systematically working to improve the living conditions of all children in the city, particularly the most vulnerable groups of children, which also include the Roma children. Our “Action Plan of the City of Slavonski Brod for the Implementation of the National Roma Inclusion Strategy from 2017 to 2020”, the Guidelines of the National Roma Inclusion Strategy, and also our successful cooperation with UNICEF form the basis of our work. Today, in the classrooms which were recently renovated and equipped as part of the “Let’s Go Together” project, the smiles of children from the two groups attending the preschool programme and the satisfaction of teachers and educators show that we are doing the right thing, and that we are steadily and successfully creating an inclusive and encouraging learning environment for children of the Roma national minority. This year, as one of the implementing bodies of the “Let’s Go Together” programme, the city plans to allocate funds for preschool teachers and for the transport by bus of children of the Roma national minority from the Josip Rimac settlement to the Hugo Badalić Primary School in Jelas. I also want to emphasise that another great value of this programme is the creation of new job opportunities for both educators and Roma coordinators in the community, and that training related to inclusive education has strengthened the capacity of our experts in the field of education, healthcare and social services”.
Ivana Ćosić, head of the education programme at the UNICEF Office in Croatia, went on to say: “UNICEF advocates equal learning and development opportunities for every child, regardless of in which part of Croatia or in which settlement the child lives. We are happy to see that the City of Slavonski Brod is a serious partner with whom we can create the conditions for a better start to education for children who need more support from society. We believe that both children and their preschool teachers who will spend time in these renovated classrooms will now find it easier to gain knowledge and skills which they will use throughout their lives”.
The City of Slavonski Brod and UNICEF are implementing the “Let’s Go Together” programme in cooperation with the “Step by Step” Public Open University, the Hugo Badalić Primary School, and the Ivana Brlić Mažuranić kindergarten.
The “Let’s Go Together” programme was successfully initiated in 2015 at the Hugo Badalić Primary School, and the main objectives of the second phase of its implementation are to ensure access to an enabling and inclusive environment in preschool education for the most vulnerable groups of children, and to strengthen the link between education institutions and the Roma community.
Besides education, and providing the necessary equipment and transport, the goal of the programme is also to inform the Roma community of the advantages of inclusion in the early education system with the help of Roma coordinators. A Programme Committee, consisting of representatives of the City, the social welfare centre, schools and kindergartens, the Roma national minority, the Ministry of Science and Education, and UNICEF, is tasked with ensuring the sustainability of this valuable initiative.