Somali students celebrate the sacking of education Minister – UM

Former Somalia's Education Minister Abdirahman Dahir Osman

Mogadishu (UM) – The sacking of former Education Minister Abdirahman Dahir Osman was welcomed by many students interviewed by UM. Mr. Osman was relieved of his duties by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre yesterday after his claim that Somali universities were not recognised by his Ministry. This sent shock-waves through the university sector which confirmed they reported the ex-minister to the Prime Minister.

The mainly private universities of Somalia emerged and grew in influence at a time of lawlessness and statelesness and most interviewed by UM strongly felt that they offered the best opportunities they could access in Somalia as a result of there been no alternative.

“The former Minister thinks he is still in Norway when he made his clueless comments,” said Ahmed Muse Abdi, a medical student in Mogadishu. “The Ex-Minister was unqualified to do his job and did not enjoy the confidence of universities or the students.”

“What kind of Minister undermines the institutions he was supposed to improve? His deeply insulting comments clearly shows he knew nothing about the realities on the ground,” added a part time teacher at the National university who did not want to be named.

The Ministry of Education has the primary mandate of regulating the university sector and this is an area of Policy led by the private sector which was improving and succeeding according to interviewees.

“Security, economic development and even our politics depends on educated people leading our country and its institutions. Yet, the only sector which has links with International partners has been attacked by this useles ex-Minister during the week an international higher education conference was taking place in Mogadishu,” said Dawud Mohamed, a student on a break in Mogadishu from his postgraduate studies in Malaysia. “I was educated from primary school to university in Somalia during the time of state failure. Me and my colleagues are grateful for the local universities the ex-minister rubbished.”

A senior member of a Mogadishu university who spoke to UM on the condition of anonymity stressed how the ex-Minister sought to dominate the sector by attempting to control their access to international partners and the international scholarships that were provided to the Federal Ministry of Education during his leadership. He also stated that the ex-Minister understood very little of the sector as a whole having had no background in academia or the higher education sector.

“Ex-Minister Abdirahman was really on another planet as he did not bother to understand the challenges and opportunities to grow the sector through engagement, promotion of international partnerships and investment. This is something the incoming Minister needs to work on with the university sector, said the academic.

UM interviewees all supported the above comment and applauded the Prime Minister for his swift actions in sacking the former Education Minister. Now, he needs to appoint a suitable candidate with relevant experience and passion for Education in Somalia.