Mogadishu - The
Mogadishu - The
mother, Noura Adam, is busy preparing a meal for her two children, next to a hut they have taken refuge in for years, in one of the camps for the displaced on the outskirts of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, after drought struck their lands and displaced them from the southern regions of the country.
The mother is surprised when asked about the education of her two children, an 11-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy, and says that the priority is to keep them alive.
Noura tells Al-Jazeera Net, "Our family is struggling to survive, and our living situation is unstable. We eat one day and starve the other, and our livelihood is not guaranteed, not to mention the tuition fees, so thinking about education is out of the question." She is silent for a while, then goes back to saying that her children need To education and to those who secure food at the same time.
The situation of Noura's family is the reality of the majority in the camps for the displaced, as the eye does not miss a large number of children of school age who spend their time among the camps, and the suffering is written on their faces despite the shy initiatives to provide education for some of the displaced children in the camps.
Drought conditions, wars and tribal conflicts in Somalia forced millions of Somalis to flee their areas in search of food and a safe haven.
Humanitarian organizations estimate the total number of internally displaced persons at about 3 million, including 1.4 million children who have reached the age of education and have not had the opportunity to obtain it.
Displaced students who are able to reach the classrooms are sleeping on the ground due to its poverty and overcrowding (Al-Jazeera)
Hunger in the seasons
In the Garsbali area on the outskirts of Mogadishu - which includes a large number of camps - the teacher, Fatima Abdul Qadir, stands in a narrow classroom of the "Nazifa Basic School" classes, where the displaced students are crowded on their seats close to each other, while others lie on the floor of the classroom, and the teacher reads the lesson of the Somali language word for word. Then the students repeat what you say.
The teacher says that the students are excited to receive the lessons despite their weak ability to absorb. When they arrive at school, they are quickly overwhelmed by fatigue and exhaustion because their stomachs are empty and their families are unable to provide them with food, in addition to the lack of equipment such as notebooks, pens and courses, and the narrow classrooms and the high temperature. and humidity.
Because of its limited budget, the education of this school is limited to the basic stage until the first semester of the intermediate stage.
According to Nazifa Hussein, the camp official in the Garsbali region, she personally established 6 chapters several years ago, and some humanitarian organizations cooperated in equipping 3 of them, while she ensured her capabilities to run the affairs of the rest of the chapters.
9 volunteer teachers work in these classes, and since the students come to school hungry, they prepare one meal for them in the middle of the day as an incentive to continue their education, according to Nazifah Hussein, who told Al-Jazeera Net that the camps of the Garsbali region - in which 7082 displaced families reside - need to more schools.
Millions are out of school
Somalia is one of the countries that record the lowest levels in school enrollment, and according to the United Nations Children's Fund, only 33% of Somali children are studying in schools out of 5 million children of school age, meaning that more than 3 million children are out of school as a result of almost complete absence For free education, and because of the exorbitant tuition fees of private schools.
The average tuition fee for the basic stage ranges between 10 and 60 dollars, while the fees for the secondary stage range from 25 to 80 dollars in a country with an average per capita income of less than two dollars.
Displaced children who have reached school age in a camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu without going to school (Al-Jazeera)
Education away from the displaced
The Somali government runs only 24 schools in the capital, Mogadishu, where free education is available to about 17,000 students, according to a study by the Public Agenda Center in 2019.
However, the beneficiaries of free, limited government education are mostly poor families living in Mogadishu and not the displaced in its outskirts, and whose camps do not have schools, according to the head of the Somali Center for Education and Research, Dr. Abdul Shakur Sheikh Hassan.
Sheikh Hassan attributes this to the lack of budgets allocated to education, which are estimated at 3% of the general budget of $918 million, which is sufficient to pay the salaries of employees in the Ministry of Education and run its administrative affairs, which negatively affects the quality of free public education.
The head of the Somali Center adds that the unstable educational system, the absence of a clear educational policy, and the fact that most state-owned schools fall into the hands of private education makes it difficult to provide free educational opportunities for the displaced and others.