Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Free education lures Somali kids from streets  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 08/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!

(MENAFN -Arab News) Two years ago Mohamed Aden was a shoe shiner in Mogadishu, walking the streets of the Somali capital in search of clients even as his friends attended school. Now the 12-year-old boy sits proudly among classmates.For Aden, a poor boy whose family lives in a derelict building in a Mogadishu slum, the transition from streets to classroom might never have happened without a new government-run program called Go2School that seeks to give a free elementary school education to at least 1 million children.Many in Somalia are happy with the new program, but the country’s Al-Qaeda-linked militant group this week warned that schools are legitimate targets for attack. Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, a senior Al-Shabab official, told reporters on Tuesday that the education program seeks to secularize Somali children.Despite a long history of such anti-education threats, the donor-funded program has proved popular with parents as well as children who otherwise would have no opportunity to get even the most basic education in a country with one of the worst literacy rates in the world.On a recent morning, Aden gleefully worked on an English exercise as a teacher stood by the blackboard offering instruction to dozens of boys and girls at Mogadishu’s Macalin Jamac School, where some 700 students are trying to catch up on lost school time. Launched late last year, the program has already enrolled more than 35,000 students in 16 schools across the country.“I’m happy now because I am learning at a school,” Aden said. “I’m going to become a doctor when I finish studying.”Abdiwahid Sheikh Ahmed, the school’s principal, said his goal is “to bring many lost children back to school.”The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, is urging donors to keep the program running. Only 42 percent of Somali children attend primary school, according to one estimate by the UN Of those, only about a third are girls.The poor attendance rates are partly a legacy of instability in the Horn of Africa nation. Public schools collapsed in the decades-long chaos that followed the collapse of Somalia’s central government in 1991. Schools, expensive to run and often targeted by militants as agents of so-called Western indoctrination, were among the hardest hit.Although some private schools exist, few Somalis can afford the tuition in a country where many live in extreme poverty. Annual per capita income was 107 in 2011, according to UN data. Unable to go to school, many Somali children have ended up on the streets, offering cheap labor at building sites. Others have been targeted as potential recruits for a terrorist campaign by rebels.Somali education officials believe many children can be lured to the classroom as the country gradually becomes more peaceful. The program is funded by the UN and countries including Qatar, a key supporter of Somalia’s president. Parents only have to pay for a uniform and scholastic materials for their children.“So far, the program is going well. We want to increase the low enrolment rate in the country,” said Mohamed Abdiqadir Ali, a director at Somalia’s Education Ministry. “We are also considering setting up mobile schools in the rural areas and regions.”Boys sit side by side with girls in schools run under the Go2School program, a gender mix that has alarmed some parents in this conservative Muslim country. Many keep their daughters away.Ali, the Education Ministry director, said they are yet to design a standard national school curriculum, raising questions about the quality of teaching now on offer. Some teachers said that often their monthly pay comes late, and others were said to have stopped teaching because of safety concerns amid militant threats.Some critics, noting the country’s lack of strong institutions, worry that the program may be derailed by official corruption.“It’s the most excellent program Somalia is undertaking in decades, but there’s question of its sustainability given the country’s corruption background,” said Mohamed Ali, a retired university professor in Mogadishu.


Arab News

  MENA News Headlines
 Oct 7 2015 - Aramco in talks to acquire stake in China's CNPC refineryMENAFN
(MENAFN) Aramco said it is in talks to buy a stake in China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) refinery as well as retail assets, as such a deal would help it sell more of its output to China.The Saudi ...

 Oct 7 2015 - Review: Cave, Conrad DubaiKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) IN A CITY where every imaginable type of cuisine is available around the clock it takes something a bit special to stand out from the crowd. Offering French culinary delights ...

 Oct 7 2015 - UAE- Fashion Forward has arrivedKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Make sure your heels are high and your suit is pressed, the critical eye of fashion is setting its sights on Dubai. With New York and Paris Fashion Week now at an end, it's ...

 Oct 7 2015 - Get ready for WAFI Fashion WeekKhaleej Times
Calling all fashion connoisseurs, WAFI Mall is partnering with its fashion, beauty and accessory stores in order to bring you WAFI Fashion Week, running from October 12 - 15.The event will welcome a ...

 Oct 7 2015 - Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram to appear at Arabian CentreKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) It's game on at Arabian Centre on October 9 as Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram along with Harsha Bhogle will be there to meet fans.The stars will be sharing interesting ...

 Oct 7 2015 - Indian President to visit Jordan next weekJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) India's President Pranab Mukherjee, will pay a several-day visit to Jordan on October 10, during which he will hold talks with His Majesty King Abdullah II on the latest ...

 Oct 7 2015 - Jordan- Temperatures will drop, rain forecast, JMDJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Unstable weather conditions are forecast across the Kingdom Tuesday with temperatures dipping 3-4 degrees Celsius below seasonal average, according to the Jordan ...

 Oct 7 2015 - Jordan- 6 arrested, narcotics, stolen cars seized in Ma'anJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Security apparatuses on Monday arrested six wanted people besides seizing hauls of narcotics and three stolen vehicles, Ma'an police told Petra as crackdown on culprits ...

 Oct 7 2015 - Jordan- FM meets Russian Federal Council ChairwomanJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs, Nasser Judeh, on Tuesday, discussed with Chairwoman of the Russian Federation Council, Valentina ...

 Oct 7 2015 - UAE- Hinton and Canizares share leadKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Craig Hinton and Gabriel Canizares shot matching seven-under 65s on Monday to share the lead after the first round of the American Express Dirab Golf Championship, the sixth ...




Click to Apply


Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help