STORY: SOMALIA/UNIVERSITY GRADUATION
SOURCE: AU/UN IST
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CREDIT REQUIRED: AU/UN IST
DATELINE: 28 NOVEMBER 2013/MOGADISHU
Somalia is on the road for growth and development, with significant steps in crucial sectors such as education. At least 30 universities are now operational in Mogadishu, providing more opportunities to the country’s youths to pursue education.
For over 2 decades of civil war perpetuated by the Shabab militants, a lot of Somali Institutions were rendered dysfunctional, while many students fled to different countries as refugees but also to seek an education.
With the relative peace enjoyed in the country, facilitated by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), such institutions are gaining ground and the youths now have a chance to acquire tertiary education. Over 700 students of SIMAD University were conferred with different degrees with the areas of study including Accountancy, Computer Science, Law, Economics, Statistics and Planning, Sharia As well as Banking and finance, among others.
The University ceremonies have had security concerns hovering over them, following the 2009 bombing of a graduation ceremony at the Shamo Hotel. A suicide bomber blew himself in the hall in which the graduands of Benadir University had conferred, killing 25 people including 3 ministers of the Transitional Government and injuring at least 60 other people.
The University Director Abdurahman Mohamed Hussein said the university has had a remarkable journey of growth, starting with basic operations to having thousands of alumni today.
“Simad University, if I go back in time, started with 5 employees and 100 students. But today, we have 250 employees and more than 4000 students”.
Speaking as guest speaker during the ceremony, the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia H.E Hassan Sheikh Mohamud emphasized the importance of education to any society.
“A university essentially has two responsibilities. One is for it to spread knowledge to the masses, and secondly is for it to create new knowledge. It needs to add new knowledge that did not exist yesterday. You see today that the majority of inventions come out from universities. It is not about learning how to type on my computer and use that in my office work. So we need to create a knowledge-based society. As the Somali government, we hold dear the value of education and we treat it in high regard and we will seek to advance education standards,”
He also expressed the commitment of his government to build on the strides made in the education sector.
“Despite the fact that today as a government we are dealing with pressing matters such as security, I want to reassure you that it’s only in the short term. The long-term priority is for Somalia to be a place where people come to seek knowledge. We want Somalia to be a country that owns patents, so that people say this new knowledge is exclusive to Somalia,”
The improved security situation now facilitates events such as this, held under the watchful eye of the Somali National Security Forces as well as the AMISOM troops.
The country however struggles with high unemployment rates, estimated at 67% for youths aged between 14 to 29, according to the 2012 UNDP Somali Human Development report.
As part of the effort to boost education in the country, the Somali government recently launched the Go-to-School campaign expected to run from 2013-2016, with the key aim of enrolling one million children and youth into school in its first year.
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