MOGADISHU, (PNA/Xinhua) –Mohmoud Jama is one of the lucky Somali children who go to school this year thanks to a government campaign to get one million kids back to education, following two decades of conflict in the horn of Africa nation.
Jama goes to Hassan Qaradi Primary School in Hawlwadag district of Mogadishu, where other 400 students receive education free of charge.
The Somali government in cooperation with international aid agencies launched an ambitious initiative, dubbed Go-TO-SCHOOL, to send one million Somali children and youth to school to get basic education over the next three years.
After more than 20 years of conflict that left education system in the Horn of African country in ruins, school in Somalia is one of the lowest in the world.
According to the Somali government, only four out of 10 children are in school. Girls are particularly affected with only a third of girls enrolled in school in south central Somalia and many dropping out before completing their primary education.
At Hassan Qaradi Primary School, head teacher Abdulahi Mohamoud Barre is encouraged by the level of acceptance to education and the high level of enrollment at his school.
“We have already started work.We enrolled 400 students so far and teachers were brought in to give education to the children in our school,” Barre told Xinhua.
The Somali government has launched a nationwide awareness campaign to urge parents to send their children to school and receive free primary education, the first of its kind for more than two decades.
Campaign posters were put up across streets in the Somali capital Mogadishu and other main cities in the country, while adverts are aired on local radio and TV stations about the campaign, urging parents to avail their children of the opportunity to educate their young.
Students at the Hassan Qaradi Primary School expressed pleasure at having the chance to go to school after years of conflict in Somalia.
“Education is very good for my future so I am pleased that I am at school studying free of charge. I will be a teacher in the future,” Mohamod Burhan Daud, primary school student, told Xinhua during recess at school.
Many girls were also enrolled at the school and received education just like their male counterparts. The Somali government encouraged parents to send their daughters to school and give girls the same chance to education as boys.
“I am very pleased that I got this opportunity to study at school. I will be able to help myself my family and country after I get education,” said Farhiya Ahmed.
The initiative, supported by the international community, will cost US$ 117 million over the next three years, which will see the provision of basic education to one million children between six and 13, as well as alternative education for out-of- school children.
The plan includes the rebuilding and renovation of schools and the training of teachers throughout the country. The Somali government hopes the initiative will kickstart the recovery of the war-torn country.
The Somali government says lack of education for young generation made it possible for militant groups to recruit the youth, radicalize them and get them to engage violence. The initiative to educate the young Somalis is expected to help change that.