On 19 July after a long negotiation, UNICEF, Open Society Georgia Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision signed a four party Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support an implementation of the new Law on Early and Preschool Care and Education that was passed on 08 June 2016.
The memorandum considers close cooperation between the partners to ensure effective implementation of the Law, which requires systematic capacity building of the involved professionals, strengthened monitoring mechanisms and continued advocacy to improve access to high-quality inclusive early childhood education for all children, including children with disabilities.
This memorandum gives us hope that five-year-old Nika, with an intellectual disability and behavioral disorder, can get a proper and quality education.
Nika came to Save the Children-run daycare center five months ago. His parents had tried to use the services of nearby kindergartens, located close to their home, but none of them could offer the required support. The specialists possessed neither the proper knowledge nor the experience. Although they did not refuse to accept Nika, the preschool institution appeared to be irrelevant for Nika.
He was in need of extra specialists care, a speech therapist and a special education teacher among other needs. Without a good preschool education option Nika had emotional issues – he would constantly cry and refuse to go to the kindergarten as it did not give special attention to his needs. Finally, his parents decided to hire a specialist who worked with him individually but that didn’t work either as Nika felt isolated and was without friends. That’s when they enrolled him to the Save the Children-run daycare center that has the necessary equipment needed to ensure that Nika gets the special treatment needed to grow and feel included. He is already showing signs of improvement.
A better start to life for Nika
With joint efforts, parties will maintain close and continuous working relationships to achieve a common objective, and help implement the Memorandum of Understanding.
Within the context of a mutual commitment to improve the quality of access to early childhood education in Georgia, the following shall constitute areas of cooperation between parties:
- Improving the capacities of local self-governments, preschool management and staff to enable provision of violence free and inclusive, high-quality and accessible early childhood education services in the preschool education institutions for all children in Georgia
- Supporting government in developing sustainable, evidence-based policy and national strategy for developing and strengthening early childhood education system in Georgia
- Developing collaborative, complementary and coherent advocacy and monitoring instruments and taking part in the assessment of effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of the law in municipalities and preschool education institutions
- Holding regular coordination and exchange meeting to review the progress and status of the EPCE law implementation
This memorandum and the work we do together to help implement the new law will enable far more children with disabilities to be fully involved in preschool educational system and strengthen our path towards equality in education, especially for children with disabilities who will get a quality education in Georgia.