Raska – Initial state
[title size=”2″]General information[/title]
The municipality of Raška belongs to Raška District, and it covers an area of 670 sq meters. According to 2011 census, the population of the municipality is 24 657 (1). According to the level of development, Raška belongs into the III group, which means that the development level of the municipality is 60% to 80% of the national average (2).
[title size=”2″]Local policies on supporting preschool children[/title]
Local plan of action for children in Raška municipality (with estimated budget) is focused on supporting child development. Special focus in on children with disabilities, as well as on single-parent children, and third and subsequent child in family. This Plan is based on the concept that early years education is important for the child, and that is crucial to invest in young generation.
The main problem related to preschool education, according to the Plan, is in lack of Preschool institution capacities. The result is insufficient coverage in general, especially of children from marginalized communities. The basic guidelines of development plan for preschool education are: to increase coverage of preschool children, especially in rural areas.
Regarding the inclusion into preschool education, the most vulnerable groups are: children with disabilities, children from marginalized and rural areas. Representatives of Local Self-Government want to solve the problem by including additional, particular and specialized programs.
Out of total budget, the municipality allocates RSD 59.678.726, 00 for the implementation of preschool education, 72% goes to salaries of employees, 12% maintenance, 3% investments, 0,6% children and family support, 0,5% to special support for children, 0,3% for professional development of employees in Preschool institutions, and 10,6% for other issues.
Municipality funds the programs of Helping Children with Disabilities Association, and other social programs.
[title size=”2″]Coverage of children enrolled in preschool[/title]
44% children aged 3 – 5 is covered with preschool programs in Raška (which is in line with the national average), and 96% is covered with Preparatory Preschool Program (PPP).
On waiting lists there are 138 children up to 3 years, 34 children aged 3-4 and 29 children aged 4 – 5.5 years. Totally 24 children up to 3 years old were enrolled in a standard way, as well as 15 children aged 3-4, 19 children aged 4-5, and 4 children in mixed groups (3-5 years). Work with children in Preschool institution “Veselo detinjstvo” in Raška is held in 21 groups, in long day care.
Out of 570 children in total who are not enrolled in Preschool institution “Veselo detinjstvo”, 307 are up to 3 years old, 107 are aged 3 – 4, and 156 aged 4 – 5,5 years.
Full fee for the kindergarten (which is RSD 4.050, 00 in Raška – DevInfo base 2011) pay 26% of the families, while 50 families do not pay fees for their children. Up to 50% of the price pay 18% of them, and 42% families pay over 50%.
Out of 218 children in total, aged 3 – 5,5 years from rural areas in Raška municipality, 37% are covered in preschool programs, which is above the national average for this category (22,9%). Among them, 0,45% are Roma children, and 1,12% are children with disabilities.
Preschool institution states that the main reason for such a small coverage of children in preschool education is in the fact that rural areas are located in such a way that Preschool institutions are very distant and unavailable for many children. Regarding children from vulnerable groups, PI states that their employees are not sufficiently trained to work with children with disabilities, while Roma children are not used to attending preschools.
[title size=”2″]The offer of other programs for children[/title]
Apart from English language program (within Preschool institution), which is attended by around 60 children, and one playroom in town, there are no offers of other programs for preschool children.
[title size=”2″]Cooperation with parents[/title]
Cooperation with parents is implemented through PTA meetings, individual conversations, and parental activity and involvement at workshops in educational group. Parents of children from vulnerable groups are included in Management Board and Parent’s Council. Through Preschool institution program they are all involved in plan creation, and decision making regarding preschool children.
There is no Parent’s Association, nor other programs that support children and families on the municipality level.
[title size=”2″]Motivation for participation in the project[/title]
The Preschool institution states that the main reasons for participating in the project are: higher availability of preschool education, the chance to increase the coverage of children in preschool education, and to provide professional support to their teachers.
It is expected that this will be a good chance to exchange experience, improve quality of educational work, and expand capacities for larger coverage of children.
The contribution of the Preschool institution is primarily in motivating employees to do their part and help the children in Raška with their engagement and experience.
1) Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia
2) Available at: http://olimpija.rs/krediti/2-posao/73-spisak-opstina-po-razvijenosti