“We feel at home here and we love our kindergarten,” says Andrei, a six-year-old, who attends the newly renovated kindergarten in Anenii-Noi, financed under the Moldova Education for All – Fast Track Initiative (EFA/FTI) project. New furniture, equipment, toys, didactic materials, and a play and sports field for children have changed the way the kindergarten now looks and functions.
Over 100 children from Anenii-Noi community, located 10 km away from Chisinau, benefited from improved conditions at this pre-school institution for children aged 3-7. Parents, who earlier refused to bring their children to the kindergarten because of its poor conditions, are now more than happy to leave them here. In the raion’s Excellence Center, educators from other pre-school institutions can learn and share best practices on early childhood development. Benefits for the children and local communities are enormous: newly renovated kindergartens and community centers along with new furniture, toys, and trained educators, follow a new pre-school curriculum in accordance with international standards. The approach to child education is also new in Moldova, with the role of the first educator attributed to the parents who are supported by kindergarten educators.
In the past, attendance in pre-school institutions in Moldova was only 41.3%, with a significant increase of 55.4% over the last five years. In 2003, the government adopted a new "Education for All” approach, further supported by the 2004-08 National Action Plan “Education for All.” The Republic of Moldova became eligible for the Fast Track Initiative "Education for All” in February 2006. Moldova is the only European country that benefits from the financial support of the Catalytic Trust Fund and the only EFA/FTI country that absorbed all the allocated resources to early childhood education.
In August 2006, the EFA/FTI project was launched with five distinct objectives: a) to increase the enrollment rate of children in school programs; b) to increase access to quality pre-school education for children at risk; c) to increase in the quality of care and education institutions for children; d) training in early childhood development for teaching and administrative staff in educational institutions; e) strengthening the social partnership and involvement of local communities in early childhood development. Under the initiative, the total of 33 kindergartens were renovated, 15 community centers were created as alternatives to kindergartens, and a pilot-Center for children with disabilities in Straseni was established. At the moment, work is underway to complete the statutes of the community centers which will facilitate the institutionalization of early education alternatives and will ensure equitable access to early educational programs for all children, including children from vulnerable families and children with special needs.
The EFA/FTI project signifies effective cooperation between the government, civil society, local public administrations, academia and donors. “The adopted participatory approach ensures a common strategic platform for all actors involved in the process in order to mobilize all social efforts and financial resources available to enhance the benefits offered by quality Early Childhood Education at the national level,” says Larisa Vîrtosu, EFA/FTI Country Adviser, UNICEF/UNESCO.
General Information about the “Education for All – Fast Track Initiative”
Total cost of the project: USD 8.8 mln
Partners: UNICEF – grant coordinator at country level, World Bank – grant administrator, UNESCO, Step by Step program, „Pro-didactica”, Institute „Ion Creanga”, Pedagogical Institute from Tiraspol, Scientific Institute in the area of Education, Social Investment Fund, local public administrations, private company “Moldcell” .
Objectives of the project:
a) increase the enrollment rate of children in school programs;
b) increase access to quality pre-school education for children at risk;
c) increase in the quality of care and education institutions for children;
d) training in early childhood development for teaching and administrative staff in educational institutions ;
e) strengthening the social partnership and involvement of local communities in early childhood development.
Status: Launched in August 2006. The second tranche of the project is currently under implementation (fiscal year 2008-2009).
Implementation Agency: Ministry of Education and Youth
Executive Director: Valentin Crudu, tel: (+373 22) 232 707