Somali minister underrates local education system as ‘substandard’

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Following the outbreak of civil war in Somalia 1991, private education sectors have made a significant contribution to the rehabilitation and development of the education sector.

by Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – A minister in the Somali government accused the country’s universities of running an education system that fell below the average standard and complained that locally educated graduates lacked quality to qualify for employment opportunities, suggesting that diaspora graduates were better suited to meet the requirements for employments in the horn of Africa nation.

Speaking to a Somali television station last week, Abdi Aynte, the minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Somalia said that the country’s education system needed an overall overhaul, blaming universities of producing ‘unskilled’ graduates not equipped with the necessary expertise.

“So, they cannot be employed when they apply for certain positions, because you’ve others more privileged than them who were educated in Sweden, UK or US.” the Somali-American minister said.

“You can’t compare these poor young boys or girls who were not lucky enough to get that privilege to diaspora graduates.” He said.

Local Somali universities produce thousands of graduate every year
Local Somali universities produce thousands of graduate every year

Young local graduates helplessly glared the minister who attended a talk show hosted by the UK-based Universal TV, vowing that the government would drop large parts of the university students as parts of a ‘planned’ education overhaul.

Despite the minister’s assertions, several universities in Somalia have been scored among the 100 best universities in Africa, having been hailed as a triumph for grass-roots initiatives in recent years.

Hundreds of local graduates also qualified for employment positions, largely by international agencies including the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the minister’s remarks sparked criticism from both local and diaspora Somalis who accused him of undermining local graduates’ confidence, a scenario that many believe have the potential to contribute to the exodus by youth from the country.

“It’s an unfortunate recklessness to discourage the positive struggle by our youth to work and rebuild our country.” tweeted Ahmed Hassan, a university graduate in Mogadishu.

A high unemployment rate in Somalia, especially among school-leavers and university graduates, has fuelled an increase in migration, with hundreds of young people embarking every month on a perilous journey to Europe through the Sahara Desert.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I must say that he is not qualified to be a minister and should not be a minister. I think these kind of talk will encourage more young men and women to leave the country and die in the sea. He shouldn’t talk like this.

  2. “So, they cannot be employed when they apply for certain positions, because you’ve others more privileged than them who were educated in Sweden, UK or US.” the Somali-American minister said.

    True, in some sense…. but I wonder what govt job in Somalia demands top notch education? The Ministry of Rocket Science?

    What is the govt policy towards local youth employment?

    – To send all of them to North America and Europe to horn their skills and in the meantime Diasporize the public sector?

    – To bring Somalia’s education system on par with the North American and European countries?

    True, the education system in Somalia is “substandard” because Somalia as a country is “substandard” and never comparable to its African counterparts let alone the first world.

    I believe locals qualify for 90% of the “substandard” public sector jobs.

    Hormuud, Dahabshiil and others were able to build giant and efficient organizations with locally trained workforce.

    Enough with disparaging our hardworking youth!

  3. Subject: “Somali minister underrates local education system as ‘substandard’”, Oct 19, 2016 by Judy Maina
    Commentary: 21 Oct. 2016
    Preamble: To discuss the above subject, one should recognize the sensitivity of the subject matter. Nevertheless, with that understanding our emotion should be restricted to the rationality of the relevant discussion in order to arrive at a solution for the betterment of the education system in Somalia – and, for that matter, in the entire Continent of Africa. It is not to Africa’s advantage to be excessively sensitive in the discussion of any subject matter if we have to benefit out of ‘modern’ education system.

    Brief discussion in terms of string of questions:
    With that long winded preamble, let us ask a few question with a view of the background of the past centuries:
    Was ‘modern’ education system introduced in Africa for the benefit of the African Child ?
    Was ‘modern’ educational institution and curriculum introduced in Africa to develop the curiosity and mentality of the African child?
    Was ‘modern ‘education system crafted to develop the African culture, language, philosophy and in totality, a way Life for the African people?
    And finally, was the so-called ‘modern’ education system ever had the African People at the nucleus of development for Africa, by Africans?
    If the answers to the above questions are strings of emotional vacuous pride of YES’s, then we should let the glaring REALITY on the African surface be the judge. On the other hand, if we shed-off the meaningless pride and accept reality, then the time is way over due for us to help ourselves, for ourselves by ourselves. In this context, African Intellectuals, graduates of Ivy league universities around the Globe (who have failed so far) should to come to their senses and rescue the African people from “Darkness”. At the very least, they have “moral” obligation to do so.

    In closing, Mr. Abdi Aynte , Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Somalia should be commended for his daring frankness to call “a spade a spade” THE END

  4. Read small story
    One of my relatives came from the UK. I asked some basic accounting for primary and secondary schools, he shocked and he said to me “Are you insane. This account is for university-level not for primary and secondary schools level”. That time I realized the diaspora students only have two advantages rather than the local students and they got a Peace and recognized certificate, they were born (some) and grew up in peaceful places but they missed the quality of education.
    Compare this story and Ainte’s comment…………..
    True, in some sense but he made a huge exaggeration. It’s true, that the educational structure in Somalia is “substandard” because Ainte is part of the bad leaders who even can’t present and contribute what he has learned from North America. Poor Leader

  5. in my opinion there is no one who is free from weak points and pitfalls. when it comes literacy and education across 95 independent countries of this world every country has a rank with these literacy and development. a country which reaping under violence and civil for nearly two decades like Somalia may have number of weak points, but at the same time should not think like nomads or like primitive society what is that mean there is no one country of those 95 world countries which live an islands, the world become globalized and share lots of information using technology and automated transportation. the minister of planing Mr Aynte which this publication called Somali-American minister answered this question without considering the potential negative consequence it may arise, what more he is still hesitating to apologize this underrating knowing that he is human being and never complete. in conclusion i am leaving my manuscript the broad saying education is NOT where you learn is how you learn.
    Reply

  6. The Diaspora ministers in Somalia’s Federal government are known with their cognative bias. All he wants is to reverse job opprtunities under his wings for those from the Diaspora. There are thousands of locally educated young men and women who are competitive in the job market. Has the Diaspora Minister also spared a thought for those scholars who started educational institutions in the ccountry while Mr. Aynte and his likes were passing a hat around in the west world boasting of their being second degree citizens. Thousands of Somalis are being thrown out from countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway and others. That is the issue he should attend to. The end justifies the means. Local efforts by local Somalis will improve and will yield better results in the forseable future. A host’s beautiful buildings and their improved social institutions will never be the guest’s.

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