New York meeting sets agenda for progress in education in Somalia
New York, 27 September 2013. A meeting between the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown and Somali Ministers has set the agenda for a transformation in the approach to education in Somalia.
Ministers from the Somali Federal Republic, Puntland and Somaliland along with key development partners and Governments agreed upon essential actions to move away from a humanitarian aid approach to education and towards the implementation of systematic sector plans.
Partners including UNICEF, UNESCO, the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education, the Danish Government and the business community (represented by the Global Business Coalition for Education) agreed on the need to streamline and co-ordinate efforts towards state-building through education.
With over two-thirds of the population under the age 30 and one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for primary-school age children, the need for comprehensive action and enhanced cooperation to deliver quality education in Somalia is urgent. Decades of conflict have taken away the right of Somali children to attend school and without an effective approach to education provision, another generation will miss out on schooling.
The UN Special Envoy for Education, Gordon Brown highlighted, the need for partners to implement harmonized strategies that focus on Somalia’s long-term goals while recognizing the country’s pressing needs.
Gordon Brown said: "We’ve seen and heard the passion of the Ministers here today and the commitments of our partners. The challenge now is to address major gaps in access and learning in Somalia.”
Mr Brown welcomed the Go-2-School Initiative, launched by the Education Ministries, which aims to send one million children to school in the next three years with support from UNICEF and other partners, saying it was an important step towards a future, peaceful Somalia.
The Somali Minister for Human Development and Public Services, Dr Maryan Qasim, speaking in a video link from London, told the meeting that education was the only way out of poverty and ignorance.
“I believe the success of a secure, stable Somalia that contributes to regional development and security can only be realised by reversing the numbers of children, who are deprived their right to an education and by getting them into school giving them hope to believe in a common future,” she said.
Puntland’s Education Minister Abdi Farah Saeed said now was the right time to intervene and build the education system: "My country's education system is broken, my people are divided but our children are crying for help,” he said. It is now or it will be too late. Two generations are lost already and we can not afford to lose third."
The State Minister for Education for Somaliland Ahmed Nur Fahiye echoed these statements saying: "We are improving the quality of education in our country and we are definitely committed to educate our children."
The meeting was part of the Learning for All ministerial meetings convened with the Global Partnership for Education and the World Bank.