Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- The European Commission has given a 4.
5 million euro grant to support the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) educational initiatives in Somalia.
The UN agency's Somalia Representative, Jesper Morch said in Nairobi Monday the funds will be used to promote pupil enrolment and ensure quality teaching and learning under the initiatives over a two year period from 2005.
Part of the money would be used in a major education enrolment campaign through UNICEF Somali dubbed "Every Child Counts Initiative," he said Community education committees that manage schools in most of Somalia would manage the project.
The village committees will also be targeted under specific interventions to improve the management of schools under their supervision, UNICEF said.
Currently, only about 19.
9% of school age Somali children are in school.
According to the 2003/2004 survey, some 285,574 children were enrolled in primary schools.
This was a 5.
7% increase from the previous year.
Out of these, only 35% were girls.
The latest survey indicates there were 9,088 teachers, out of whom only 1,210 (13%) were female with one teacher having an average of about 31 students per class.
There are 1,172 operational schools in Somalia.
Since 1997 UNICEF, its partners and local authorities have been collecting data on primary education through annual school surveys partly funded by the EC.
"Without a central government for most of the last 14 years, the task of running schools has mostly fallen on community education committees established in 94% of the schools in Somalia," Morch said.
The UNICEF said it plans to use the EC grant to continue the in- service training of teachers, rehabilitate schools and quip them with adequate water and sanitation facilities, said Noel Ihebuzor, UNICEF Somalia Education Officer.
Ensuring the enrolment of 80,000 more Somali children in schools in the main objective, he added.
The girl child is specifically identified for special enrolment, retention, and quality learning in primary schools.
Previous support from the EC and other partners made it possible to develop curricula and materials for the primary schools.
UNICEF welcomed the renewal of EC support to the education sector in Somalia, which has since 2000 seen major improvements in access and quality.