EU, UNICEF and UNDP launch a programme on advancing quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all

With the financial support of the European Union and in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Research, UNICEF and UNDP will support the improvement of the quality of education in Moldovan schools

March 28, 2024

In a broad effort to modernize the general education system in the Republic of Moldova, UNICEF, and UNDP, with the financial support of the European Union and in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Research, launched the programme "Advancing Quality Education and Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All". The initiative aims to strengthen the education system and create learning opportunities for all children in a modern and inclusive environment.

Present at the launch event, named “Reimagining Education: a modern school for every child”, the Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, Janis Mazeiks, underlined the support of the European Union for the development of the education system. 

"The EU has been a strategic partner for the development of Moldova's education sector for over a decade. Today more than ever, education and skills are at the hearth of the cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova in the European integration path that Moldova has undertaken since the country gained candidate status in 2022," said Jānis Mažeiks, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.

The National Institute for Education and Leadership (INEL), part of the project, started its activity on 25 February this year and is responsible for strengthening the capacities of teachers and school managers in line with national teaching quality standards and European Union standards for quality education. The establishment of INEL is one of the 20 governmental actions that are part of the National Plan "Building European Moldova."

"The European Union's contribution is essential for modernizing education in the Republic of Moldova. The project resources will be used for priority actions such as strengthening the National Institute for Education and Leadership, developing the network of model schools, purchasing school buses, and other extremely important activities. We are grateful for this support and count on continued EU support," said Dan Perciun, Minister of Education and Research.

With a total budget of €10 million, the project will improve the digital skills of teachers, support the development of digital educational resources, and create the Open Educational Resources Platform. Out of the 35 model schools selected by the Government of Moldova, 10 have been picked by the European Union, UNICEF and UNDP to be renovated and equipped to increase access to quality education for pupils, especially children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

These educational institutions will foster the development of STEEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Arts, Mathematics) skills and will be endowed with school buses, to facilitate the access of students from rural areas. In addition, career orientation activities will be organized to help improve the connection between general education and the labour market. 

As part of its ongoing commitment to modernize learning environments and equip students with the skills needed for success in today's digital age, UNICEF will support the digitalization of these schools, and provide assistance for the reconceptualization of the professional development system for teachers and school managers.

Additionally, UNICEF will support the Ministry of Education and Research to ensure improved access to education for all children, including the children with special educational needs. Assistive technologies will be procured, and teachers and educational support staff will be trained on their use. Also, the school infrastructure will be adjusted to increase the accessibility for every child.

"At UNICEF we know - inclusion benefits all students, not just the ones with special educational needs. As society becomes more interconnected and globalized, the importance of preparing students to thrive in diverse and multicultural environments becomes increasingly evident. Therefore, the emphasis on inclusion and diversity within the education system is not just a passing trend but a fundamental aspect of preparing students for success in the 21st century," said Maha Damaj, UNICEF Representative in Moldova. 

UNDP will improve the learning environment in 10 selected schools through renovation of science labs and STEEAM spaces, procurement of school buses, and provision of ICT equipment. Digital educational resources will be developed, while teachers and school managers will be trained in order to raise their capacities to embark upon the process of e-transformation in education. Finally, UNDP will support strengthening career orientation in schools through fostering stronger connections with the private sector. To improve the overall digital skills of citizens and advance on the digitalization agenda, UNDP will support the development and piloting of the National Programme for Digital Skills for Adults.

"UNDP is proud to stand as partner with the European Union and UNICEF in the implementation of this ambitious programme. It aligns with our core mission to foster human development underpinned by better educational outcomes which will expand opportunities for all people to live the lives they desire.  That’s why, over the years, we have been committed to supporting initiatives in general and vocational education and life-long learning. Our contribution to this initiative spans from modernizing school infrastructure to providing latest ICT resources, from empowering teachers and school managers to cultivating digital skills. With partners, we are fully dedicated to creating an environment where every child can meet his/her full potential," added Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

The programme "Advancing Quality Education and Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All" marks the strong commitment of the European Union, the Ministry of Education and Research, UNICEF, and UNDP to transforming the general education system and building a more prosperous future for all children in the country. The launch event was attended by more than 100 teachers and school directors, representatives of the National Institute for Education and Leadership (NIEL), as well as the Republican Centre for Psychological Assistance. 

Access here the press-release in Russian.