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UNICEF lauds Somali leader’s pledge to pay primary school teachers

BOSSASO, Northeast Somalia, 6 April 2005 - UNICEF has praised a pledge by the President of Puntland (Northeast Somalia) Mohamud Muse Hirsi “Adde” to inaugurate salary payments for primary school teachers.

Some 200 teachers stand to benefit from the move which will mark a major break from the norm in Somalia where, traditionally parents have had to bear full responsibility for the payment of teachers. Puntland is a semi-autonomous state within Somalia. It has its own president, but unlike Northwest Somalia (‘Somaliland’) which has declared sovereignty, Puntland has always vowed to remain an integral part of Somalia. 

The announcement came on Tuesday, 5 April 2005 at a ceremony in Bossaso (a port-town on the Gulf of Aden coastline) to mark the formal launch of the UNICEF-supported Integrated Primary Education Programme. The programme aims to strengthen basic education in Somalia with special emphasis on fulfilling the education rights of girls and other vulnerable children.

The programme is a collaboration between UNICEF, the European Commission, the Puntland administration and local communities. Similar programmes will be implemented in Somaliland and in Central and Southern Somalia. The President of Puntland also announced a massive drive to build more schools in Northeast Somalia. This was the first time since the conclusion of Somalia’s peace talks in 2004, that the Puntland leader has openly committed the administration to the goals of ‘education for all’ and to gender parity in access, retention and completion in basic education.

The move follows consistent advocacy with the Puntland authorities to increase budgetary allocations to education and other social sectors as a means of encouraging sustainable development. Said UNICEF Senior Programme Officer, Siddharth Chatterjee, ‘’The President’s announcement marks a milestone in Somalia’s education history and demonstrates a very real commitment by the administration to realize the Millennium Development Goals. The payment of teachers’ salaries will free parents of a major financial burden and will remove a significant obstacle in getting all children, and especially girls, to access and complete their primary education.’’

Witnessing the launch of the  Integrated Primary Education Programme were Puntland Minister of Education, Ahmed Said Aw-Nour , members of the Puntland cabinet,  local leaders,  representatives of the private sector, development partners and school children. 

For further information contact:

Noel Ihebuzor, Education Officer, UNICEF Somalia. Email: nihebuzor@unicef.org. Tel: +254-20-623950/53/55/70. Mobile: +254-734-400-080.

Denise Shepherd Johnson, Communication Officer, UNICEF Somalia: Email: dshepherdjohnson@unicef.org. Tel: +254-20-623950/53/55/70.




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