Declaration of the Second Decade for the Protection and Welfare of the Egyptian Child,2000-2010
Monday، 20 July 2009 - 12:00 AM
The Declaration of the Second Decade for the Protection and Welfare of the Egyptian Child 1989 - 1999 signaled the prioritization of children’s issues. It put them at the heart of future plans and at the center of all visions of progress.
It gives me pleasure at the end of the first Decade to express great appreciation of all efforts exerted over the past ten years in support of the initiative which sought to provide protection and welfare to Egyptian children. Building on the achievements of the first Decade and ascertaining that children continue to occupy a prominent place in our national development plans, I deem it fit to proclaim the next ten years from 2000 to 2010 a Second Decade for the Protection and Welfare of the Egyptian Child. I hereby call on individuals, state agencies, non-governmental organizations and charities to pool their efforts in order to address the facts of the Third millennium as follows.
The scientific and technological progress of the 1900s indicated that the new century will witness unknown-before-to-mankind rates of progress. While advanced countries are the makers of this progress feasting on its fruits, developing countries that fail to catch up will suffer the consequences of a widening gap between themselves and the advanced nations. The price will be too high for their people to afford with their standard of living declining in comparison with their equivalents in advanced countries.
The communications revolution characterizing tomorrow’s world will be such that it will remove distances and barriers between countries and peoples imposing the life patterns of advanced nations on the entire world with their positive and negative effects. This renders it necessary for us to have a comprehensive and deep planning vision, sustained by ways of communicating with society in order to maximize the benefits of the positive effects and minimize the disadvantages of the negative effects, with a view to uniting this communications revolution-born world.
Children are at the core of all our planning visions. It is only through them that we can catch up with the scientific and technological progress, by preparing them to fulfill this trust, while opening the door for them to take advantage of the positive elements of progress.
This leads us to defining the goals of the Second Decade as follows:
1. To maintain the successful policy of reforming scientific curriculums with a view to narrowing the quality gap of the educational process of Egyptian children in comparison with the children of advanced nations.
2. To increase the rate of enrolment in the primary stage to cover all children in the age of compulsory education.
3. To provide the opportunity to gifted children to develop their scientific, literary, cultural and artistic talents, enabling them to promote their skills under a number of programs that cultivates their gifts and promotes their talents.
4. To work towards achieving the principle of “excellence for all”.
5. To expand in the establishment of Kindergartens (KGs) with a view to absorbing 10 per cent of the total of children in the age group 4 to 6 and to have KGs become part of the compulsory education stage. It is also essential that compulsory education extend to include the secondary stage and its equivalents.
6. To provide the opportunity of regular or special education and of rehabilitation in all its forms to children with special needs with a view to completely absorbing them within the system, each according to their needs especially working and disabled children.
7. To sustain efforts exerted with a view to enhancing advanced education technologies and boosting children’s ability to use them to gain the expertise and skills needed for taking on the challenges of the Third Millennium and for competing internationally.
1. To bring 90 per cent of Egypt’s children including those with special needs under the umbrella of health insurance.
2. To vaccinate 95 per cent of children and to introduce new vaccines against dangerous diseases.
3. To implement programs to eliminate causes of hereditary diseases and birth defects, to prevent environmental risks and accidents and to improve the conditions of society.
4. To establish the child’s right to comprehensive health-improving programs and to substituting for deficiencies in such nutritional components as iodine, iron, vitamin A, zinc and fluorine.
5. To apply quality-control to health services and to ensure that they are accessible to remote areas and to those most in need.
6. To cut maternal mortality rates by 50 per cent and to make available safe maternity services.
7. To bring women in the stage of pregnancy and childbirth under the umbrella of health insurance.
8. To provide reproductive health and family planning services and to increase family planning prevalence to 65 per cent.
9. To continue to support programs seeking to reduce the incidence and complications of endemic diseases such as bilharzias and hepatitis.
Third: Social solidarity
The Second Declaration for the Protection and Welfare of the Egyptian Child is launched at a time when Egypt is set to explore the horizons of a comprehensive social development, in the qualitative and quantitative sense of progress for all segments of society. However, children and women, in their capacity as mothers, should be given special attention as follows:
1. Children at risk, especially school dropouts, working and street children, and those incarcerated and placed in social institutions should be protected and a program should be devised to address their problems and provide them with a proper psychological, social and occupational upbringing.
2. Problems of single mothers and of mothers facing difficult conditions should be addressed; training should be provided so that they would acquire new skills and new occupations. This should be linked to illiteracy projects and to the funding of small enterprises.
3. All problems of the female child should be addressed.
4. It is essential that every child should join a sporting, social or cultural club and/or be part of an extra-curriculum activity as a means of refining their character and providing them with new social skills.
It is imperative that change be brought about to reformulate individuals’ visions, thoughts and behavior so that they are able to deal with tomorrow’s world and meet the challenges of progress in the scientific, technological and media fields. This process extends to cover the entire spectrum of social life and should include adults and children as well as men and women. Children, however, should be as much at the focus of attention as is our view of the future. All cultural channels should thus be made available in which our exertions would be capable of bringing children up to endorse a culture of:
1. Developing rationalism and scientific thinking as a way of dealing with life.
2. Unleashing children’s creativity and conceiving their critical views as a force allowing for the development of society’s culture and life and avoiding the un-renewed reproduction of inherited traditions,.
3. Developing children’s ability to deal with advanced technology in all fields.
4. Highlighting the values of tolerance, mutual love, acceptance of the other, respect of freedoms and of others’ feelings, a sense of belonging to the mother country and to humanity as a whole, and renouncing prejudice and hatred.
Legislation cannot, on its own, address the problem, which arises from faulty economic, social or cultural conditions. However, once its goals are achieved, it opens the way to solving problems. A conscious legislative movement is thus required:
1. To address loopholes in the Personal Statute Law whereby mothers and children are provided with stability; a unified family law is required to respond to changes in the Egyptian society.
2. To constantly review motherhood and childhood codes so that they are compatible with local and international variables.
The implementation of the Second Decade requires the constant support of audio, video and written media, important tools in raising the awareness of society about the importance of developing childhood.
I am certain that the efforts exerted to achieve these goals will provide our children with the opportunity of developing their capabilities.