In 2016, thanks to the passage of Law 248/2015, children throughout eomania, who are at risk of dropping out before 5th grade, will get an early start in the education system through the national expansion of the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniţă Parent Incentive Program. There’s good news and…
The Good News: The Romanian government has allocated $14.4 million in the 2016 state budget for this purpose. Food coupons worth 50 lei ($12) will be provided to families conditioned on rigorously confirmed regular preschool attendance of 3-5 year old children living below the poverty line. The Ministry of Labor estimates this could potentially reach 100,000 children.
This truly is a major step forward for Romanian education and social equity at the grassroots level. The legislation reflects the government’s recognition that early education is crucial to giving children of largely illiterate parents the tools to stick with school; and that staying in school is crucial to achieving basic job skills required in today’s market; and that only participation in the job market will give these children a fighting chance to become active, tax-paying citizens.
The Scary News: State funding will cover only one element of the program, i.e., food coupons, and it will dramatically expand the number of participating communities – so financial and human resources will be needed on an increased scale for the other elements. The local authorities will continue to be responsible for providing clothes and shoes, an allocation of $38 per child on average. Preschool teachers, state social workers, and school mediators will form the local implementation team, incorporating the program elements into their regular job responsibilities, as is currently done in the pilot communities.
BUT the other essential components of turning this landmark legislation into a truly functional national program are still, realistically speaking, OvidiuRo’s responsibility.
With the government taking over the cost and distribution of the food coupon incentives, OvidiuRo’s actual program costs will decline to about $26 per child/year, while the number of eligible children will increase exponentially. Our objective in the first year is to assemble the human and financial capacity to provide basic services for up to 50,000 children – to cover: attendance monitoring, local team training, and student supplies.
To take full advantage of the $14.4 million allocated by the government in the 2016 budget – and demonstrate that the investment is worth making on an ongoing basis – The Alex Fund will be called on to help meet the challenge to OvidiuRo of scaling up on this accelerated schedule!
We need your support, now more than ever, so that ALL disadvantaged children in Romania have the opportunity to change their educational and life outcomes for good. We welcome your involvement and support!