The Minister for the Somali Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education, Mr Abdullahi Godah Barre has criticised Puntland for not allowing its students to take the “National Examination” under umbrella organisations. In a statement broadcast on the Somali National Television, Godah said that the Ministry will not recognise any other examination administered by Puntland State. The Minister said that he had thought “ solution has been found to areas of disagreement between Puntland Ministry of Education and the Somali Federal Ministry of Education.”
What is unprecedented under the current Somali federal administration headed by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo is the policy the Ministry of Education has adopted to aggressively promote what it views as National Examinations in a country with multiple examinations boards and with no a national curriculum.
Early 1990s Unesco introduced a Somali primary school curriculum under its former PEER programme. The curriculum was partly based on pre-1991 national curriculum. The Unesco-produced curriculum was also taught at refugee camps for Somali refugees. However, post-1991 Somali regions have adopted curricula promoted by NGOs keen on replacing Somali as the medium of instruction.
In 2007 when a former Minister of Education for the Transitional Federal Government paid a visit to several Mogadishu schools, he was surprised to learn five schools he visited were following different curricula from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE, Qatar and Egypt.
A country with no an inclusive national army cannot have a national curriculum. Puntland has private schools and many poorly funded government schools. Mr Godah’s intervention damages the trust and cooperation between the Federal Government and the Puntland State when he argues his Ministry has the imprimatur not to recognise any other examination not set in and approved by Mogadishu. There is a question mark over how the Somali Federal Government can fairly distribute scholarships provided by friendly countries if it considers Mogadishu-mandated curriculum as the genuine one for the whole country.
The Federal Government has a duty not to undermine educational institutions that have been functioning in Puntland before the formation of the Transitional National Government and subsequent federal governments.