Over 50,000 new students in Puntland are set to benefit from a European Union-funded programme in the next three years.
The 7.3 million Euro Puntland Education Sector Support Programme launched in Garowe Tuesday will see over 56,000 students enrolled in schools within the state adding to over 100,000 the number of students to access education under the EU supported programme.
In a joint statement, the EU and the government of Puntland said the third phase of the education initiative dubbed ‘Waxbarashadu Waa Iftiin’ (‘Education is Light’) will also involve the construction of 16 new schools, 84 classrooms, 24 water and sanitation facilities and four secondary school laboratories. A further 200 teachers will be trained while 300 youth will be equipped with marketable vocational skills.
EU Chargé d’Affaires, Fulgencio Garrido Ruiz said the education programme is crucial in promoting social inclusion and cushioning the youth from falling prey to radicalism or recruitment by armed groups.
“Education is essential in alleviating poverty, building peaceful societies and promoting social inclusion. In the face of security-related challenges that Somalia faces today, educated youth are less likely to become radicalized, attracted to militias and join other destabilising activities,” said Ruiz. The programme we are launching today will go a long way in improving and expanding education and vocational training opportunities that will benefit Somali children and youth.”
The initiative which also puts into place measures for children with special needs, children from pastoralist communities and girls is the third following successful completion of the first and second phases.
The first and second phases covered support of 58,000 students, construction of 17 new schools, 228 classrooms and 66 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities
Puntland Education minister Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan lauded the programme as instrumental in enabling the state realise its education sector strategic plan.
“The new programme will support the implementation of our education sector strategic plan by prioritizing activities that foster access to quality education, completion and transition,” said Hassan.
The programme is being implemented by CARE and Save the Children and in close coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Puntland.