china.org.cn / chinagate.cn, April 16, 2013 Adjust font size:
Project Title: Child-friendly Schools
Project Initiator: UNICEF China and Ministry of Education
Introduction of the Project:
Every child in China now has access to free compulsory education services through grade nine. Despite this advance, the quality of basic education needs significant improvement.
Part of the problem is the disparities in the quality of teaching and learning in schools across China. Especially in rural areas, teachers may lack both necessary skills and training opportunities.
Although the Chinese government’s new national curriculum calls for interactive teaching methods and inquiry-based learning, teachers need support to implement these reforms. In addition, schools often lack essential resources that would enable an optimal teaching-learning environment.
These factors contribute to low social and emotional well-being among certain students, especially those from ethnic minority communities and in remote rural areas. High social and emotional well-being correlates with better performance in school.
UNICEF China, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and others, is developing a framework for making schools safe, happy, inclusive and participatory. Their efforts focus on four areas.
First, working to improve the social and emotional well-being of all students in China’s public schools. They collaborate on surveys to measure social and emotional well-being, and assist with analyzing the results and their implications for a national monitoring system that tracks students’ levels of safety, contentment, inclusion and participation.
Second, supporting surveys on reading competency and other skills that will be used to develop improved classroom teaching and learning methods. In addition, they contribute to a pilot program to train teachers in interactive teaching techniques through online and distance education.
Third, they are continuing a pilot that provides a mobile educational resource support system for teachers in the most remote schools. This program involves transporting materials and teachers from school to school, and we have successfully deployed it in emergency and other areas.
Fourth, they also help build capacity for school management through computerized education management information systems. They support a school database that is being used to monitor educational progress and budget expenditures in 18 provinces.
UNICEF’s work to promote more child-friendly school environments is improving conditions and making school more appealing for children. In areas where the pilot programs are underway, students and parents confirm significant changes in teachers’ attitudes and classroom teaching techniques.
In addition, the school database supported on the provincial level is being implemented nationally. Better-managed schools are more likely to retain students for the full nine years of their education.
In 2009 the Ministry of Education adopted the UNICEF Child Friendly School model as a standard for measuring quality in China’s schools.
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