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
 Mar 5 2015 - Saudi, South Korea consider trade expansionMENAFN
(MENAFN) South Korean President announced that Korea and Saudi must try to diversify commercial cooperation with an emphasis on nuclear energy, renewable energy, education and health care, Arab News ...

 Mar 5 2015 - Etisalat plans to invest USD1.08b in 2015MENAFN
(MENAFN) Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, also known as etisalat, is planning to invest USD952.7 to USD1.08 billion this year on its infrastructure, fiber optic and 4G networks as well as to ...

 Mar 5 2015 - Qatar seeks 7 percent growth in 2015 despite oil plungeMENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar's economy is expected to grow 7 percent in 2015, as it forges ahead with huge infrastructure investment despite the drop in oil prices, leading economist said.The figure compares with ...

 Mar 5 2015 - French Assystem acquires 75 percent in Saudi RadiconMENAFN
(MENAFN) Assystem completed the acquisition of 75 percent stake in the Saudi Radicon Gulf Consult (Radicon) to create a new engineering offer in the Saudi market nominated Assystem Radicon, Saudi ...

 Mar 5 2015 - Dutch Vopak to expand Fujairah oil storage capacity in 2015MENAFN
(MENAFN) Dutch Vopak is set to build five crude oil storage tanks with total capacity of 478,000 cubic meters at the port of Fujairah in the UAE, Reuters reported.Vopak is already in a partnership ...

 Mar 5 2015 - Saudi Kingdom Holding signs MoU with Korean Investment CorporationMENAFN
(MENAFN) Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), signed an MoU with Korea Investment Corporation (KIC), Saudi Gazette reported.The MoU is set at producing more opportunities in private equity ...

 Mar 5 2015 - UAE to grant USD2b loan to CroatiaMENAFN
(MENAFN) Croatia is considering a USD2 billion loan from the UAE to help financing its current debt and reestablishing its collapsed economy, Arabian Business reported.Successive governments have ...

 Mar 5 2015 - UAE's Etisalat launches local search engine in 2015MENAFN
(MENAFN) UAE's Etisalat launched a UAE-specific search engine, nominated Connect.ae, which is the first in the country and it is labelled as a fully-digital and multiplatform search service, Emirates ...

 Mar 5 2015 - Bahraini Bapco, EMC sign agreementMENAFN
(MENAFN) Bapco and US-based EMC signed an agreement through which the Bahraini company gets a centralized, tapeless backup environment using EMC's 'next generation data protection solutions', Gulf ...

 Mar 5 2015 - Bahraini Batelco Group, Canadian Star Solutions sign partnership agreementMENAFN
(MENAFM) Batelco Group signed an agreement with Star Solutions in which the Canadian company is set to implement GSM/LTE mobile networks for Batelco Group's operations in the South Atlantic region, ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

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

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

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