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Somali minister underrates local education system as ‘substandard’

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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