Hargeisa, Somaliland, January 2017 – More than fifty female teachers from across Somaliland could be set to become head teachers after completing a two year Diploma course in school management and administration.
The 53 teachers graduated from the UNICEF-supported course which was funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) program and implemented by Somaliland’s Ministry of Education across four state universities.
The course aimed to encourage female teachers to take up leadership positions in schools in Somaliland where only three percent of head teachers – 28 out of 930 – are women.
Asha Ahmed Adan was one of the graduates who received her certificate at a ceremony in Hargeisa.
“I’m delighted I did the course and today is memorable day for me and my family. I studied at Nugal University in Sool region and learnt about school management, education and human development and mentorship,” she said.
“I’ve been a teacher for 17 years and this knowledge and these skills will help get me promoted to Head or Deputy Head Teacher and they’re going be useful in the day to day running of the schools and supporting students.”
Dr Shahid Awan who represented UNICEF along with Mohamoud Abdi Ahmed from Education said UNICEF placed a great emphasis on women’s education as it can contribute directly to improved health, nutrition and other development indicators.
The Somaliland Minister of Education Abdillahi Ibrahim Habane said measures have been taken to address the lack of female head teachers.
“ We also know women form the backbone of the family so we are making efforts to ensure we keep increasing the number of female administrators” he stated. “I want to assure these graduates that most of them will be female administrators and supervisors by the end of this year
The previous Education Minister Zamzam Abdi Adan, who was a teacher, said women paid special attention to children. “They observe children when they report to school in the morning and can spot those that need special help. During my time as Education Minister the few schools headed by females were doing extremely well, we should therefore make efforts to promote more female teachers,” she said.“ We also know women form the backbone of the family so we are making efforts to ensure we keep increasing the number of female administrators” he stated. “I want to assure these graduates that most of them will be female administrators and supervisors by the end of this year.”
The Graduation Ceremony was also addressed by Edna Adan Ismail, a former First Lady, Minister and founder of the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital and University. She encouraged leaders and parents to continue efforts to promote girls’ education and women in leadership positions.
“This ceremony caps the efforts and advocacy work that has been done to ensure women are given leadership positions,” she said. “These women have proved they can perform and contribute well given the right opportunities. I recall the first girls’ school established in Burao in 1953 had 28 girls, all of them went on to become important people in our society. One example is the current First Lady, Amina Jirde.”
The GPE initiative will provide positive, professional role models for girls and it is expected that gender-sensitive policies and strategies will be promoted in schools under female leadership. This will result in a more girl-friendly schools that will actively seek to encourage girls to enrol and complete a full cycle of primary education.
As well as reducing the high drop-out rates for girls in the upper primary school grades, it is hoped this will lead to an increase in the number of girls transitioning to lower secondary school.