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
 Jan 31 2015 - Vodafone Qatar revenue up 21 percent in 9MMENAFN
(MENAFN) Vodafone Qatar's said its total revenue grew by 21 percent to USD474.59 billion for the nine months ended December 31, 2014, The Peninsula Qatar reported.The company's mobile customer base ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qatar Airways to acquire 10 percent of IAGMENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar Airways announced that it has bought nearly 10 percent of the parent company of British Airways and Spain's Iberia, deepening wealthy Qatar's business ties to Europe, Arab News ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Saudi RCJY signs three deals worth USD138.25mMENAFN
(MENAFN) Chairman of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) signed three contracts worth USD138.25 million to provide essential equipment and develop industrial zones, Arab News ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Saudi- Outspoken prince to launch pan-Arab news channelThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) An outspoken, billionaire Saudi prince will on Sunday launch a pan-Arab satellite news channel aimed at challenging established networks in the region.Prince Alwaleed bin ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qaeda in Yemen says France top enemyThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The ideological leader of Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said Friday that France had surpassed the United States as the top enemy of Islam.With the ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qaeda group launches assault on Western-backed Syria rebelsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria battled Western-backed rebels Friday as the jihadists pressed their bid to seize control of northern areas, a monitoring group and rebels ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Iraq- Air strike kills IS 'chemical weapons expert'The Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) A US-led coalition air strike killed a chemical weapons specialist with the Islamic State group in Iraq who once worked for Saddam Hussein, US military officers said ...

 Jan 31 2015 - FM honours Qatari missionsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The second annual general meeting of heads of Qatar's diplomatic, consular and representative missions abroad ended in the presence of the Foreign Minister H E Dr Khalid bin ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qatar- Demand for books declines as craze for movies risesThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The charm of printed words is fading away in Qatar and the craze for movies is peaking, according to report released by the Ministry of Development Planning and ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qatar- HBKU hosts graduate students from USThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), hosted 25 faculty, staff and graduate students from ...

more...


 






Google

Electronic & Mobile Payment

 
 

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