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Kenya and Somalia

Source: Al Jazeera

From a distance at least, it is difficult to make any conclusions about
the state of Kenya’s education system. This international report by Radio France Internationale says that Kenya is right on track to achieve the United Nations’ second Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015.

Citing phenomenal growth in Kenya’s primary school system (93 percent enrollment rates) the article extols the progress being made in the areas of information communication and technology as fuel for the country’s growth in both primary and secondary education.

An article published in late February by Voice of America explained some roadblocks to Kenya’s primary school success. The article states that the Kenya Education Support Sector Program was started in 2005, with $5.8 billion earmarked for improving the quality of education and making more educational opportunities available.

Here is the appraisal document for the program.

Yet according to Voice of America, rumors of fraud within the ministry of education and the education system of Kenya as a whole started to surface in 2009. By the next year, the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission listed dozens of education officials suspected of theft, with some already appearing in court.

Al Jazeera reported in June that around $50 million was missing from the ministry of education.

Somalia, a neighbor to Kenya, may be considered to be in a worse state of education than Kenya. A Washington Post article says: “Only about a third of children of primary-school age are enrolled in school, according to UNICEF.”

As Somalia continues to face round after round of militia violence, there is a generation of children being raising in such violent conditions. The main conflict started in 1991—to give some perspective, I was born in 1992. The generation being raised in this violence is full of 20-somethings like myself.

And apparently as a result of this, Somali children like to play war. According to the article, children are less interested in education and more interested in fighting.

Washington Post: “We need to make sure that this generation receives quality basic education, access to social services and protection from violence and abuse,” Sikander Khan, the top official for the U.N. children’s agency in Somalia said. “This will stop them being sucked into the continuing violence and they will then be able to make a positive and lasting contribution to the future of Somalia.”

Though the situation appears to be very hopeless, school enrollment rates are increasing in Somalia. The article states that Somalia had 285,000 children in school in 2003-2004, and now there are 760,000 in the 2011-2012 school year.

An article by Oxfam highlights the need and demand for a higher-quality education system and access for children in Somalia. It is a chief concern for parents amid the conflicts and violence dominating the country.

My hope is that Somalia can get at least a foothold in peace. That they can build up their education system and encourage participation by providing better opportunities and incentives.