Somaliland Ministry of Education signs agreement to decentralize delivery of education services
Hargeisa, April 2014 - The Somaliland Ministry of Education and Higher Education signed a memorandum of understanding with three District Councils of Borama, Berbera and Burao to pilot a devolved system of managing primary school education in a move to strengthen and improve the delivery of education services.
The agreement was signed in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa by the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Zamzam Abdi Adan and the Mayors of the three District Councils. The signing was witnessed by Dr Haydar Nasser, Chief of the UNICEF Field Office in Somaliland and other senior government officials.
Under the pilot project, the District Councils take on the responsibilities of among others; the routine maintenance of selected public schools, supervision, payment of water and electricity bills for urban schools and establishment of clear lines of communications.
The education service decentralization project is part of the Joint Programme on Local Governance (JPLG) and Decentralized Service Delivery, a capacity building programme implemented by five UN agencies; the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Capitla Development Fund (UNCDF) and United Nations Human Settlement Programe (UN-ABITAT)
UNICEF facilitated the bilateral discussions with the District of Councils of Borama, Berbera and Buroa and the Ministry of Education to define and agree the basic primary education responsibilities and functions for the local governments to implement with monitoring and oversight role of the Ministry.
The District Councils will submit budgets, receive the funds from the Ministry of Education and manage expenditures in line with the agreed plans. The ministry of Education will allocate US $ 17,320 to Borama, US$11,232 to Berbera and US $22,565 to Burao. The districts will also in turn contribute their own funds with each allocating US $25,000. UNICEF through the JPLG funds will subsidize the districts by providing US $60,000 to each of the three districts.
UNICEF will transfer the funds to the Ministry which will then disburse it together with its own contribution to the districts on quarterly basis.
In this pilot project, 43 schools in Borama, 42 in Berbera and 66 in Burao will be covered.
Speaking during the signing ceremony in Hargeisa, the Somaliland Minister of Education and Higher Education, ZamZam Abdi Adan hailed the decentralization of education service delivery as an important step to improve the quality of education. “We are committed to decentralized service delivery. It is way of minimizing the cost of operations and taking services closer to the people. My advice to the District Councils is that we need to continue to demonstrate the highest standards of accountability and transparency to our citizens and development partners”, she said.
Under the agreement, the District Councils will also undertake social mobilization activities aimed at creating community awareness on education, vaccination, hygiene and sanitation and infant feeding
“Decentralization maximizes scarce resources. I congratulate the Ministry of Education and the District Councils for taking the first steps in the decentralization process”, said Dr Haydar Nasser, Chief of the UNICEF Field Office in Somaliland. “I reiterate UNICEF’s commitment to continue supporting the Ministry of Education and the target District Councils in this endevour”, he added
The Advisor on local governance in the office of Somaliland’s Vice President, Hussein Jiciir commended the Ministry of Education, the District councils and UNICEF for taking the lead in the decentralization of education service delivery and for their commitment to deliver quality and equitable services. “This is the first step of a long journey and a good example to others. I thank UNICEF and the donors for their continued support and contributions to the development of the country”, he said.
This was echoed by the Vice Minister of Interior, Osman Garad Sophe who said “Decentralization is a national government agenda. Today, the Ministry of Education has shown commitment to decentralized primary education service delivery. I’m confident that the target pilot District Councils have the capacity and understanding to deliver good quality primary education services”
On their part, the District Councils reiterated their commitment to effective management of the resources and improve the quality of education in their respective districts.
“The Ministry of Education has set a role model in the decentralization process. This is a test to the target pilot District Councils and we are committed to demonstrate good results on behalf of all districts of Somaliland. The decentralization of service delivery will continue to be based on regular consultation” said Saleebaan Hassan Haddi, Mayor of Borama District Councils.
JPLG aims to put in place capacity, policies and regulatory framework for effective and efficient service delivery by the District Councils. The programme running from 2012 to 2017 is in the second Phase and significant progress has been documented at local level.