Mogadishu (UM) – The Minister of education Abdullahi Godah Barre paid a courtesy visit to the national exams centers in Mogadishu today. What a difference a week makes. Last week Minister Godah was shouting among students who were angry that the national exams they prepared for were cancelled because of leakage and fears of cheating. He was under pressure from all sides which accused him of failure and mismanagement of the national exams. Today, the second day of the national exams, the Minister is seeing visiting exam centers in Mogadishu and engaging students and teachers. Today, the failures of last week are superseded by the on-going success of the exams which will conclude at the end of the month.
Minister Godah has learn his lesson and appears to have put his Ministry in order. Yet, the positive engagement with the schools, students and teachers should not just be for the cameras. It should be the way it is every day.
Education in Somalia is still poor quality and most schools are run as a business without any public benefit. There are more children on the streets than in the classrooms. The national curriculum is still being drafted and there are still serious issues with the way foreign scholarships are awarded by the Ministry of Education. It is not fair that children of connected people are always favored over those that cannot afford to pay but are capable and have worked harder. This injustice must be addressed quickly.
Many donors have pledged to support the rebuilding of the education system in Somalia and an international fundraising event is planned in Kuwait in October 2019 according to Ministry sources. But these support are too slow and too little to cover the huge needs of the sector in Somalia. If the International community wants to really help, they must act more sincerely.
Minister Godah must do what he did for the nationl exams for all education policy. He must find a way to make sure that his policies can educate and skill-up all Somalis to have a better future. While Minister Godah can smile today because of the better management of the national exams, there is still a long way to go.