UNICEF Reported Good News about Education in Somalia

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24 April, 2013


From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund has reported good news about education in two regions of Somalia. The two - Puntland and Somaliland are now relatively peaceful and secure, at least compared with central and southern Somalia.

UNICEF and educational planners for the two areas found that in Puntland, the number of students in primary education went from 26 percent to 43 percent over the last five years. A smaller increase was reported in Somaliland.

The agency says more girls should be in school, that need exists in all of Somalia, not just Puntland and Somaliland.

Leaving school is a big problem. For example, only 37 percent of Somali girls who had completed first grade, took the form four exam in the 2011 to 2012 school year. And girls represent only 28 percent of students in Somali secondary schools. The Communications’s chief for UNICEF in Somalia, says communities are benefiting from an increasing number of schools being built. And the officials Susannah Price says the agency is developing projects in varies fields of education.

"UNICEF, for example, have worked very hard on training enough teachers, working on non-formal education as well as alternative kind of education - for example for the pastoralist children."

Pastoralist children are the children of families that moved with their herds of livestock. Suzana Price says the agency also has worked with committees in the community to support them, and help with building classrooms and schools.

Miss Price says education is absolutely key for the future of the Somalia, but there are problems in getting parents to send girls to school. The spokeswoman says UNICEF encourages equality between males and females in education. She says UNICEF is trying to improve the availability of schooling for girls.

"We’ve been focusing on changing attitudes on girls’ education, to talk to parents to explain why education of girls is as important as to the education of their brothers, why you shouldn’t keep girls at home to do the house work. "

Miss Price says the agency has helped with scholarships for girls, so they can start school, and go on to higher education. UNICEF also gets girls who have succeeded in education to talk to others, to persuade them to go to school. The agency says more universal education could help Puntland and Somaliland improve other areas of developent, such as health care. UNICEF says there has been no major improvement in health and nutrition in the past five years. It also says the number of children receiving vaccinations to prevent diseases remains low.

And that’s the Education Report from VOA Learning English, I’m Christopher Cruise.