On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, which is celebrated around the world on 5 October, UNICEF and the EU Delegation to Montenegro called for an increased support for teachers to ensure that every child receives a quality inclusive education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all remember at least one teacher who changed our lives – who helped us find our talent, supported us when we needed it most, and inspired us to become what we are. Good teachers are the essence of quality education. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with them regularly about the challenges they face, but also about the best ways to organise safe, quality, and inclusive education during this pandemic, and provide them with all the necessary support, “said the Head of the UNICEF office in Montenegro, Juan Santander.

The UNICEF and the EU recently issued a global appeal to encourage states to prioritise safe and quality child-friendly education during a pandemic, focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable groups.

“The most vulnerable children – those with disabilities, those living in poverty, Roma and Egyptian children, and those with chronic diseases – pay the highest price for the educational crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. By prioritising the most marginalised children, we can reduce inequalities in education and ensure that every child acquires the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in life. In order to achieve that, we must continuously support teachers,” said the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Oana-Cristina Popa.

According to a survey conducted by Ipsos with Montenegrin parents in early September, with the support of UNICEF and the British Embassy in Podgorica, as many as 86% of parents singled out communication and cooperation with teachers as the most positive aspect of distance learning during the previous school year.

In Montenegro, as well as around the world, teachers work hard to create a new learning environment for their students and ensure that the school can continue.

In order to have a quality education during this pandemic, it is necessary to provide psychosocial support to all teachers. Also, teachers need new technologies and training to acquire digital skills and knowledge in order to use them effectively. For this reason, UNICEF, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, has so far enabled the training of 2,000 teachers to use digital tools for better quality education via the Internet. A new group of 2,200 teachers will be trained during this semester.

The EU supports teachers through training in various fields and helps reform the Montenegrin education system by strengthening inclusive education, developing curricula, modernising vocational education, and improving the quality of teaching.