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Published On: Fri, Feb 3rd, 2017

Open Letter to the Somaliland Minister of Education

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Mutiu

Dear Honourable Minister,

As-salaam alaikum.

My keen interest in active participation in the development of the educational sector of this noble self-declared independent state has made me to do thorough evaluation of various progress reports about the educational system of the country. Consequently, my findings have shown me that your ministry is not doing bad at all. In fact, you have in the past and more importantly recently shown and recorded significant progressive administrative output.

So far, report gathered (most especially from Somali Commentator) shows that your Ministry has openly displayed a true reflection of democratization of educational governance through decentralisation of the managerial systems of the entire educational sectors of the country. Unlike in some years back, the local authorities now play significant roles in the education sector of the state.

Also with your partnership with UNICEF and other related international organisations, education in Somaliland has been made accessible and affordable to all regardless of gender and social class. And with your open door policy, I have noticed that your ministry has significantly encouraged active participation of women in the management of the sector.More so, it is obvious that through UNDP Joint Program for Local Governance (JPLG) your government has greatly improved sanitation and security in public schools,which therefore has reduced cases of illness caused by poor hygiene and also encouraged, most especially, girls to attend school with little or rather no fear of insecurity respectively.

Your unrelenting effort in having independent and contextualized applied educational curriculum and materials is also commendable. Recent translation of Somali textbooks to English and production of textbooks (for all subjects) for learners of primary and high schools is a crucial landmark in the standardisation of the country’s education. This has shown that the country is truly more than qualified to gain international recognition as a sovereign state.

However, findings also have shown that there are some gaps to be filled in the education sector of the country. For instance, reports gathered from some experts in the field shows that the sector pays less attention to vocational education, which is one of the most important tools for building workforce for a progressive society. Also, it has been discovered that most teachers particularly at secondary and tertiary levels do not have a consistent medium of communication. They mostly use Somali to teach subjects or courses that both their texts and examinations are respectively written and conducted in English. This has thereby caused serious confusion for learners and has drastically weakened their individual assimilation, text comprehension, and composition.To curb this, I would recommend that pragmatic steps should be taken by the Ministry to periodically monitor and observe activities of teachers most especially in the classroom at all levels, and annually provide them training platforms for professional and administrative improvement.

Likewise, the fact that there is no specific educational institution(s) charged with the responsibilities of training and certifying teachers, a lot of incompetent and unqualified teachers have made their ways into the noble profession; thereby corrupting the system and damaging the lives of the innocent young learners. This is evident in the poor mastery of autographic and verbal English language communication skills by most especially students at tertiary level.

Notwithstanding with your unrelenting optimistic spirit for the growth and development of the sector, I have no doubt that if the highlighted gaps mentioned above are filled and at least a standard Teachers Training Institute (TTI) is set up, the educational system of the country will have a matchless golden stand among her counterparts –especially in the sub-region and even across and beyond the continent.Moreover, laboratories and field trips should also be made available and accessible for subjects/courses that require practical to encourage creativities and innovations. And lastly, I suggest your Ministry should design the best means of encouraging experts across the African continent and beyond to switch their attention to Somaliland so that they can invest their expertise in the sector and the country at large.

To conclude, I wish you more remarkable achievements as we progress in this new academic year.

Wa salaam alaikumwarahmatullahiwabarakaatuhu.

Yours faithfully,

Mutiu Olawuyi
Curriculum Developer/Instructor,
IOU Intensive English Course, East Africa.

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