The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today welcomed a pledge by the president of a semi-autonomous Somali territory to ease parents' financial burden by taking over the payment of salaries for primary school teachers.
"Some 200 teachers stand to benefit from the move which will mark a major break from the norm in Somalia where traditionally parents have had to bear full responsibility for the payment of teachers," UNICEF said, referring to the announcement made yesterday by Puntland President Mohamud Muse Hirsi "Adde" in the Horn of Africa country.
The president was speaking at a ceremony in the port town of Bosasso to launch the Integrated Primary Education Programme, a collaboration between UNICEF, the European Commission, the Puntland administration and local communities, the UN agency said.
"The president's announcement marks a milestone in Somalia's education history and demonstrates a very real commitment by the administration to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)" agreed at a UN summit in 2000 to remove or reduce a host of socioeconomic ills by 2015, UNICEF's Siddharth Chatterjee said.
"The payment of teachers' salaries will free parents of a major financial burden and will remove a significant obstacle in getting all children, and especially girls, to access and complete their primary education."