The closing ceremony of the Development Cooperation Project Pedakos (“Preschool Education Development Alliance for Kosovo”, created by the Italian NGO Volontari nel Mondo RTM (RTM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Kosovo (MESTI) took place in Pristina, on February 3rd 2023.
The Italian Ambassador in Kosovo, Antonello De Riu, and the Kosovar Minister of Education, Arberie Nagavci, were present at the event.
“Early childhood education is the foundation for children’s growth, providing the base for lifelong learning as well as the development of social and emotional skills. That is the reason why investing in this sector means building a better society. This is a goal that, as Italian system, we have decided to support, in close synergy with the Kosovar authorities, drawing on the experiences of the Reggio Emilia Approach, an worldwide recognized excellence in the field of early childhood education”, Ambassador De Riu declared in his intervention.
PEDAKOS is a multi-year program (2019-2023), funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) with an overall budget of just under 1 million Euros, which has contributed to significantly increasing the quality of Early childhood education services of Kosovo, through the exchange with the Italian excellence represented by the educational system of Reggio Emilia.
“PEDAKOS was a path thatn as Ministry of Education, we wanted to follow together with all the other Italian and Kosovar partners. Early childhood education is a priority of our government. It is our intention to continue the exchange started with the Reggio Emilia educational system also in the future”, Minister Nagavci said.
“Today’s event represents an extraordinary opportunity to share the good practices and innovative experiences introduced to the Kosovar early childhood education sector thanks to PEDAKOS. This eventconcludes an intervention, but not our commitment to support institutions and civil society in Kosovo for the achievement of quality early childhood education for everyone”, RTM Programme Manager for the Western Balkans Francesco Gradari underlined.
PEDAKOS was promoted and implemented by RTM and MESTI in collaboration with a vast and qualified partnership of entities of the sector.
On the Italian side, the Municipality of Reggio Emilia – Institution of Preschools and Infant-toddler Centers, the Reggio Children Foundation – Loris Malaguzzi International Center, Reggio Children Srl and the E-35 Foundation.
On the Kosovar side, the Pedagogical Institute of Kosovo, the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the University of Pristina, the NGO Childproof, the Agency for Social-Educational Services Shpresa e Jetes and Botanika Preschool Institution.
For her part, the AICS Representative in the Western Balkans Stefania Vizzaccaro reiterated that “PEDAKOS initiative not only aligns and supports the national priorities indicated in the Kosovar Education Strategic Plan 2017-2022 and 2022-2026, in which early childhood education is clearly identified as a national priority. The objectives and results obtained by PEDAKOS contribute to promote adequate education as a mean of fostering social inclusion, an issue particularly of interest to the Italian Cooperation. A second element for which this project has been valuable for the country is represented by the training provided to teachers, who have been able to draw directly from Italian experts and from our best preschool education practices”.
At the end of the event, the itinerant exhibition “Fantastic Bicycles” was inaugurated, a collection of works and thoughts on reused materials by children attending the 15 pilot schools involved in PEDAKOS Project.
The exhibition will be open for visitors from the 6th to the 13th of February at the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation and from 13th of February to the 13th of March at the University of Pristina – Faculty of Educational Sciences.