HARGEISA –The international aid group Mercy Corps is helping teachers in the breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland develop their teaching skills as parts of a wider campaign aimed at combating widespread illiteracy in the region where only 44 percent of young women aged 15-24 years are literate.
In recent years, Somaliland’s government said it was prioritizing improving the education sector in the region in an effort to help lift people out of poverty and improve social economic status and access to education.
The new training course held under the initiative the Somali Youth Leaders Initiative (SYLI), funded by Mercy Corps in partnership with the education ministry was rolled out this week in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, with the training of 80 teachers from four regions in Somaliland.
USAID and Mercy Corps have earlier launched a five-year program to build and rehabilitate secondary schools in Somaliland.
Ahmed Hussein, Somaliland’s deputy higher education minister lauded the program, saying it’d help polish teachers’ skills to enhance the education of their students.
“I am urging you to take advantage of this training opportunity– It will help your students a lot and help Somaliland in the eradication of the illiteracy.” He told teachers attending the training provided by foreign education experts.
“Having taken this critical training, you’ll be able to produce well-qualified students.” he said.
The three-weeks capacity building program will see teachers selected among schools in Somaliland taking Science and English courses along with visual presentations.
Despite challenges, the government of Somaliland has been credited with a relative improvement in the education system, having managed to re-energize the education system.
However, critics cite an outdated public school system, school privatization and inadequate infrastructure are hindering the education system in the enclave which has broken away from the rest of Somalia in 1991. No country has so far recognized it as an independent state.
Somali Youth Learners Initiative (SYLI) program is a five-year USAID-funded program comprising of 3 result areas: 1) Fair and equitable secondary education services improved for at least 50,000 Somali youth, community member and education officials through construction and rehabilitation of school infrastructure, provision of teaching and learning material, teacher training, capacity building for teachers, education officials and improved community and government participation in education management, 2) At least 10,000 youth are more economically self-reliant with supportive systems through improved access to and quality of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) services, improved TVET standards, support for business start-ups and improved linkages to the private sector, and, 3) 100,000 youth empowered to participate and contribute positively and productively to society through strengthening of youth groups and safe spaces for youth dialogue and support for youth-led advocacy efforts and community improvement projects.