It is very distressing to revisit the history of education in Mogadishu for the last twenty five years, but before that Somalia in general and particularly Mogadishu had a very dynamic and functional state funded public schools. Al most all districts of Banadir region had a number of primary schools and at least one secondary school fully equipped with highly trained teachers.
At that time, more than 90 schools were operating in Mogadishu. Some of them were technical and vocational schools like Farsamada Gacanta. Most of them have been vandalised and destroyed by a quarter of century civil war which ravaged the city. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of so many local and international benevolent organisations with the help of consecutive interim governments succeeded to rebuild these schools and refurbish and now most of these schools are used privately owned organisation and most of them have got permission to use these school buildings, as reported, from Ministry of Education of Somali federal government (SFG).
To clarify the matter, Mogadishu has very robust private schools which have dominated the delivery of day to day schooling in the last 15 or odd years and they are the one which use most of the public school buildings. These private schools have played major role in resuscitating education after the collapse of former central government but only who have money have access in to the education provided by private organisations called umbrella.
According to UNESCO, Somalia has 1,567,900 school age children, so a quarter of that number supposedly live in Mogadishu, because its population is around a quarter of Somali population. Other indicators confirmed that Somalia has the lowest rate in literacy and low gross enrolment rate (GER) in schools. The number of out of school children is very high in Somalia particularly in big cities like Mogadishu. So how can we explain this trend of low enrolment and low literacy in the city, when we know there are so many educational infrastructures which have been rebuild and refurbished by many local and international organisation? One answer could be, two big portions of the population of the city (Mogadishu), low income families who are struggling to win their daily bread and many internally displaced people, have no chance to send their children unaffordable private education in the city and they have no choice other than leaving their children out of school.
Mogadishu, unlike any other major city in the world, has no public schools funded by the state. There are only few free primary schools supported by international organisations and number of sponsored children in private schools. There is also ‘allegedly’ unsuccessful go to school programme which targeted million of children across Somalia but failed to deliver it is promises so far. These few primary school seats can not cover the needs of many school age children who are without school in the city and the solution can not be less than revitalising state funding schools as it used be prior civil war.
Mogadishu has at least, needed school buildings. So what is missing is teachers’ wage and cost of day to day running schools. With the collaboration of ministry of education of SFG, Banadir Regional Administration (BRA) and other education supporters, we can re-estabilish good number of free basic education in each district of the city.
BRA particularly education department wants to make lack of free public schools in the region a history, however without the help of the ministry of education of SFG and without reform for educational management of the county, regional administration only can not deliver this substantial under taking. Ministry of education of SFG has to lead key areas of educational development and existing regional administrations and states should lead micro management and delivery of education in their respective regions and states. MoE should focus on six areas which are vital for future development of education in Somalia and they are: Education policy of the country, Curriculum development, collecting and assigning education budgets to the regions and states, Taking centralised exam, Monitoring and evaluating education management of the regions and states and training teacher.
Finally, that kind of arrangement will give MoE very specific role in educational development of the country and it will have overall responsibility of education planning and its development, however regions and states will take a prominent role in educational management of their respective regions. It is time to start thinking creatively and differently in order to build clear and strong working relationship between MoE and regional administration and states which will determine the completion of more needed education development programmes for the children of each region across Somalia.