We-the elders in Somaliland know that the type of education existed before 50 years (before the Military Coup) was different from the education system existed within the period of the Military rule of Somalia; and the education existed in Somalia before it felt apart (before 28 years) was different from the education of today. The same is true, as technology progresses at a rapid rate, the shape of the education in the future will look very different to the one that we are now practicing and educating our children. Schools around the world that are effectively educating for the future were focused to things that matter the wellbeing of their country. Our country now needs a good quality education which is an education that provides all learners with capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic societies and enhance individual well-being; it also needs future oriented education system which is an education focused to the knowledge and skills that matter the needs of our country. Many students across Somaliland cannot say very few correct sentences in English language; despite of having graduations from what they call universities; because they lacked Good Quality Education that can provide positive outcomes needed for individuals as graduates and positive outcomes for our society to prosper.
Abdurrahman Ibrahim Abdillahi in his article titled (what are the agricultural skills this country needs) published by Oodweynenews on 2nd March 2019 said “the key constraints faced the Ministry of Agriculture is inadequate skilled man power or lack of qualified technical personnel to provide expertise in aspects of agricultural development”; yes it is true that all our Ministries in the economic development sector like fisheries, Livestock, Minerals, Industries, Investment etc, face the same constraints. This unavailability of expertise is because of our education system; which is not focused to the knowledge and skills that matter the needs of our country. The countries who practiced the strategy of future-oriented education system over came the obstacles of the future and developed the livelihoods of their people; because the students in their schools were not just being taught only to deal with the facts on the ground, but were educated to be the technical instruments of that country’s future development programs relevant with the international operating systems in the world. They also taught their students to think and thrive in the complex interconnected world, and explore what it means to be contributing as global citizens..
Currently, there are three kinds of educational systems existing in Somaliland, which are the Madrassa system that teaches Qur’an, the private schools and the public schools. Unfortunately each Qur’an Madrasa operates with its own different system; with no common standard set to comply with and to be monitored with. Then it is true that we don’t know what type of religious ideologies our young children were taught besides reciting Qur’an. Likewise, the other two types of schools mentioned above have different ways of teaching, different school dresses, different syllabuses, different teaching languages, different periods per subject per week per class, different periods per teacher per week, different School term starting dates, different School term closing dates, different salaries for the teachers, different number of students per class (40 or less to 80 or 90 students in a class), different educational knowledge and qualifications of the teachers, different rates of student fees (limit less teaching fee of the private schools) and different education quality between public schools and private schools.
There is no conditions and basic criteria for who is being a teacher; no criteria and requirements for establishing private schools and universities; no control of the appropriateness of the academic structure of the private schools; no assessment of the suitability of the sites for establishing private education institutions; no national education system uniformity aiming to bring equal opportunity among the nation’s children (existence of rich and poor classes based education); no government interventions of the greedy profit seeking business like private schools; no teachers training centers in all over the country; no government initiative to provide free and compulsory education to the children in the IDP camps and poor residential areas of the cities; no quality and market oriented education plan; and no technical or skills development education.
We want to genuinely catalyze a shift to our country’s future teaching needs. In other words, we need our students be experts in agriculture to support our farmers practice the best techniques and produce the most essential items; we need our students be experts in geology especially the mineral and energy resources available in our country; we need our students be experts in marine fishery management, to set the fishing international standards, the catching limits and the protection required for the sustainability of its national economic values; we need our students be doctors arranged to fill all key areas of specialization in public health and surgeries that our people suffer on their search of such treatments in a far away foreign countries; we need our students be experts in veterinary, to change the primitive livestock herding system to more valuable and advanced dairying system and develop other ways to commerce our only export commodity.
We need our students be experts in the most advanced technology, which is progressing in a very swift rapid rate, to enable our country cope with the technologies practiced throughout the interconnected world; we need our students be experts in all military specialization fields, to build an advanced National Army Forces (NAF) capable of defending the country with vigilant watch, sharp and ready answers to any security threats; we need our students be qualified engineers who are experts in the constructions of all infrastructures (airports, seaports, bridges, roads, heavy industries etc); we need our students be capable of producing new inventions; we need our students be economists who can make essential and meaningful contributions to Somaliland economic development strategy, and can nurture the national monetary policy; we need our students be patriots who love their country and work for it not work from it; we need our students be good visionary leaders who can coup with those in the developed world in the future.
I read from the African Exponent that Rwanda launched a satellite to provide internet that will help the rural schools learning system. But in Somaliland our governments are even not aware that the rural children need education. To educate the rural children is not in the short and long national education plan. Somaliland’s urban schools education also became out of the government control; they became businesses like to earn much profit in a short period of time resulting very poor education for our young children. In order to put education system back under the control and guidance of the government, in order to upgrade our education and establish Good Quality Education, in order to redirect our national agenda of educating our young generations in line with that of the future –oriented teaching system; we need to be ready to equip our national education policy with a complete educational reform that I can mention herewith some essential steps.
Education experts should be assigned to assess and introduce the future –oriented teaching system and materials we need to educate our young generations; and the existing curriculum must be revised to give the answer of the types of educators we need to produce in the future. the profit –seeking-businesses-like-schools, operated by the private institutions should face strict and urgent interventions to correct their undesirable education systems; and must be imposed with restrictions, criteria and requirements to meet and procedures to follow when establishing a private school; in order to put education management back in to the government control and guidance. We need to redesign our national education plan in to a turn of introducing vocational schools or career schools that our country mostly in need. It is a fact that we can’t establish all in one time. But the government can assess and decide which is mostly in need to establish first; then which is second in need and so on. These vocational schools should be attended by the students who completed their grade eight education successfully (with certificate); and will be aimed to provide secondary level technical skills required to perform the tasks needed in the fields of Agriculture, Industries, mineral resources, veterinary, fisheries and marine science environment, polytechnic institutions, nursing institutions etc.
If we Change our Mindset, we can change our life. The mind is the most powerful tool that humans possess, it can be used to see the good in every situation and help us attain success in our plans. instead of buying very expensive 4WD vehicles with prices between $80’000 up to $180’000 for every government title holding person ranging from Ministers down to Directors of Departments; and spending them with hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly; the government can buy vehicles with prices between $10’000 and $20’000; and can allocate the remaining 80% or 90% of the money to build one technical Vocational school yearly. On the other hand there are millions of dollars of “funds for education”, provided by some UN and International Agencies annually. But misappropriation and mismanagement of these funds is a major reason for the deteriorating quality and lack of improvement of the education. We need to prevent these funds from fraud, waste, abuse, and misuse activities. If these funds be allocated officially for some particular use within the education improvement programs. This is one option enabling to build technical vocational schools. The Ministry should arrange faculties related to the specializations of these vocational schools within the government managing universities in the regions with all their best standards.
Uniform education management system should be imposed to all public and private schools (same syllabuses and curriculum, same language for teaching, one uniform for all elementary schools, one uniform for all intermediate schools, one uniform for all secondary schools, same number of students per class, same number of periods per class per subject per week, same number of periods per primary teacher per week, same number of periods per secondary teacher per week, same qualifications required from both primary and secondary school teachers, same wages for the primary teachers, same wages for the secondary teachers, same schedule of the dates that schools take their leaves as well as the dates to be opened). The Ministry of Education has to empower its inspectorate system by assigning well qualified inspect ors for all the regions of the country working with written responsibilities of school inspection; allocating enough budget with the purpose to ensure that high standards of teaching are maintained and that there is continuing development of the educational system.
Teachers training centers for the teachers of the primary schools must be established; to enable our teachers to practice and promote internationally accepted teaching formats on a daily basis. All primary education teachers in general should be trained in the Teachers Training Center/s with all the knowledge of the educational psychology, which is the study of how humans learn and retain emotional, social, and cognitive learning knowledge, primarily in educational settings and classroom presentations; Teacher’s training should be one that refer to the policies, procedures, and provision designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school, and wider community. Besides giving lessons, teachers are the ones we need to build human beings; so they must have the knowledge that they can psychologically explain and direct their students the ways to overcome the challenges ahead of them and become successful persons in life; teaching them how to better their future life and their responsibilities towards their country as educated citizens,
Faculties of education for the Secondary school teachers should be arranged with in the government managing universities; and if they exist should be improved to meet the needed standards. Then only a teacher graduated from a faculty of education, specialized with one of the subjects taught in the secondary schools with the required GPA should be a secondary school teacher (now teachers with only secondary education teach in some secondary schools which is out of rule and is a true negligence). Another inspiring step to get quality education is to increase the wages of both primary education teachers and secondary education teachers; private and public school teachers getting the same wages; in order to avoid “good teachers for the rich children in the private schools and low level in quality teachers for the poor children in the public schools” which now exists. They should earn wages enabling them to cover their monthly essential living. This would be a basic crucial improvement step that our children can get quality education for all not for the rich only. Because low quality education in the public schools and very high school fee prices of the private schools discourage so many poor students to continue their education.
Adam Ali Younis