Somalia High Schools lack quality

It would not surprise anyone to see a Somali young gentleman/lady fail to express him/herself as an academician.  Well, since the collapse of the Somali’s central government in the early 1990s, basic education has lost its quality as well as all the other essential social and infrastructural amenities have been destroyed beyond recognition.  High Schools in Somalia lack quality in any senses of the word. Education in Somalia is characterized by the use of various uncoordinated curriculums, commercially motivated schools and a lack of qualified teachers,  this affects students at both primary and secondary levels.

To begin with, the use of different types of curriculums, mainly from foreign countries makes it difficult for the teachers and students to understand them well. For example, various Arabic syllabuses are taught in both primary and secondary Schools in Somalia, again, different English written syllabuses are taught, all these problems play a major role in the quality of education in Somalia .It is a daunting task for the authorities to tackle this predicament in order to come up with a better and a common syllabus that is required to achieve the objectives. A common curriculum will set predictable directions and would make it easy for the teachers to be trained for it to teach and also become accountable for their performances. In that regard, Schools will start competing for performances as they would be easy to rank them based on their results. A Prime A prime example is Kenyan education system, though it has various syllabuses, but the national curriculum is a common one. Each end of school year, the Ministry of Education comes up with a result showing top students and schools which are lively televised while results are being released. That creates a fierce competition among the schools and their students. Somalia should learn from that and come up a strong, better and common syllabus.

Quality in high School education is sacrificed for quantity as their number could alarmly reach 1000 even not more.  Their main competition is how many students are attracted and just feeling the balance sheets. This has lowered to earth the quality of education as there no pressure of results and performances  but number and quantity.

Consequently, to make the matter even worse, some high schools, quite in number, offer short courses that completely deceive students. It’s a common thing  to see, a commercial school or an adult school attracting many students to give a short cut high school education, like two years, one and a half or even less than that.  What would someone learn in these years? For sure, this kills the real sense of education and unless they are shut down, no progress will be expected. They call it short cut to high school.  One would say ‘Why bother’ for four years in class while commercial Schools are there where no one fails. To father make things worse, Universities enroll such students from these kinds of schools and they are made to sit in the same class with other students to pursue a University degree.

Furthermore, a lack of qualified teachers makes high school education in Somalia very poor. To find a professional teachers  in High Schools is very rare, maybe one in a whole school but is that enough? The main reason is that there are no institutions that train and produce teachers for the whole country. A High School graduate who has gone through the above sequence would end up teaching the upcoming generation and molding their mediocre duplicate.  What is disappointing is that, the teaching sector is not valued in the country as it’s regarded as a lower  job to do. So schools would suffer to find such teachers. It’s a high time someone fills that vacuum and generates better trained teachers for the various levels of education in Somalia; in addition, the government should give out incentives to encourage them.

However, there are others who would argue that high schools or the other lower levels are not as paramount as Colleges and Universities are,  so they should not be given priority.

Many university boards of management and prominent lecturers both local and foreign have complained about the credibility of the students being enrolled for the various degrees. According to Mr. Walter Mbayi a prominent English instructor, writer and researcher who opines that “there is a need to standardize the education at both primary and secondary levels through stringent curriculums that embody quality and national values” This he says is important in breaking the current situation and ensure qualified well rounded students at university level.   For example, most of the university admitted high school leavers lack the basic level of education. It would not surprise a tutor to start revisiting the basic rules of punctuation and verb forms. Suffice to say high school and primary education levels are very important stages that need to be taken seriously in order to change the dismal levels of education.

High Schools in Somalia would produce better students if the curriculum would be made a common to commercial schools and teacher training institutions established aligned with the national values and goals of education.

Mohamed Kaafi


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