Serbia has one of the lowest participation rates of children in preschool education. The number of children aged 3 to 5.5 years in Serbia is about 180.000, and the last findings of UNICEF, show that out of that number, only 44% are included in the pre-school education. The percentage of participation is different in urban areas (57%) and less developed areas (about 29%). The worrying factor is that the total number of children in kindergartens in recent years is being reduced and that preschool services are not used by those who need it the most – socially disadvantaged children.
There are many reasons why the figures are so worrying. More than 10.000 children are on the waiting lists for the enrollment into pre-schools, mostly in the developed regions. In addition, Serbia has over 2.500 locations where there are no preschools. We should not forget the families who are facing financial problems and are more likely to decide that their children would stay at home, as well as children with developmental problems or Roma children, who in many cases are not included in pre-school education. The majority of these 2.500 locations are very underdeveloped and poor, without the means to invest into early childhood development and education.
The Novak Djokovic Foundation has focused its activities towards the improvement of conditions in which children in Serbia get education, grow up and play. Their work is concentrated on children living in Serbia, especially children from socially endangered communities. They are working on the improvement of education through infrastructural and educative programs and projects. They want to enable children a stimulating and adequate setting for the development of their potential.
Through strong partnerships with citizens, associations and organizations established by wider community in Serbia, they plan on creating an ambient in which children from socially endangered communities would have a possibility of joining a creative game through which they will develop values and skills that will enable them a good start in life.