Chen Kun visits UNICEF Child Friendly School project

2012-12-20 14:30 1161

UNICEF Ambassador highlights role of education in reducing disparities

BEIJING, Dec. 20, 2012/PRNewswire/ -- Popular film star and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Ambassador for China, Chen Kun, visited Nayong County, Guizhou, in early December to learn about UNICEF's support for children's education, hygiene and sanitation. The field trip, which took Chen Kun to one of China’s poorest counties, was his first mission for UNICEF.

“I am glad that my very first visit is to Nayong. We saw the actual situation here. Education is of great importance to the whole nation,” said Chen. “The child’s learning environment and the process of fostering their thinking skills are the domains that need our special respect and attention.”

The Child Friendly School project is a long term effort of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education to improve teaching and learning in primary schools. The Child Friendly School model focuses on four dimensions:

-  Ensuring schools are inclusive and equitable for all boys and girls

-  Introduction of holistic, child-centered teaching and greater teacher support  

-  Creating a safe, supportive and healthy school environment

-  Fostering real opportunities for children to participate, question and discover

“China has made great strides in providing access to schools for all children,” said Dale Rutstein, UNICEF China Officer in Charge. “We are very excited that Chen Kun’s first field trip with UNICEF helps focus public attention on the great need for all stakeholders to support improved quality and equity in China’s schools.”

Chen Kun participated in the UNICEF education sector planning mission designed to help launch the latest phase of the more than ten year joint project of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education. The team visited two schools and several students’ homes to learn about conditions and opportunities for the project.

“I visited two schools and experienced in-person different aspects of rural students’ lives. Their innocent smiles inspire my confidence in the ability of the Child Friendly School project to showcase an effective model to for poor counties and villages in need for improvement in education,” Chen Kun observed.

For children affected by poverty in remote rural areas, educational resources can be quite limited. Many of the classrooms visited by Chen Kun contained 70-80 pupils being taught by one teacher. The team also saw many children living in very small rented rooms near their school while parents either live far away in more remote villages or they have migrated to find employment in urban areas.

Since 2009, the Child Friendly School model has been a key strategy for improving equity and quality in basic education in China.

About UNICEF in China: UNICEF first assisted China between 1947 and 1951, providing emergency services, food and nutrition, health and hygiene training during and after the war of liberation. In 1979 UNICEF officially commenced its cooperation with the Government of China to support child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is on the ground in over 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. 

Source: UNICEF China