By: Somaliland Mission/WASHINGTON DC
Dr. Gass’s Presentation Outline to North America Somaliland Diaspora
Presentation Outline: Education is an indispensable factor in the reconstruction and economic development of Somaliland. The support of higher education in Somaliland should be a national priority where all stakeholders must participate in promoting higher education in Somaliland. Diaspora can and should play an important role in this noble endeavor. Why education is crucial for the reconstruction and development of Somaliland (S/L)?
Education is at very pulse of the national building and policymaking.
WASHINGTON DC (Somalilandsun) – Somaliland must take steps to transform and expand its universities in response to increasing globalization forces which are resulting in the rise in the knowledge intensity of economic activities.
Education also plays a key role in minimizing the threat of terrorism by providing constructive engagement of students in the development of the country socially, economically and politically.
Some basic facts:
• Public universities: Amoud University, Burao University, Gollis University, Hargeisa University and Nugal University.
• Estimated Enrollment in these 5 universities is about 15,000. Students.
• The total enrollment in primary and secondary schools was 200,000 in 2011 compared to 1,019 students in 1991, when Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia. The funding sources for these universities are the meager amounts that students pay in tuition. The government does not have enough financial resources to support these universities.
• The average student tuition is $200. Per semester.
• The average teacher salary is $300.00 per month.
• The future challenges facing Somaliland higher education are enormous and require substantial investments. For instance, there is no enough capacity to absorb such ever-increasing student enrollment; there are no enough trained teachers; there are not enough financial resources to sustain the education of the increased student population!
Here are few examples of the challenges facing Universities in Somaliland
There is an insufficient number of teachers and lecturers.
Present teachers and lecturers are lack training.
There is a high turnover rate of teaching staff due to inadequate compensations.
There is a shortage of teaching material such as books, etc.
There is a shortage of instructional spaces.
There is a lack of English proficiency among students while medium of instruction is in English.
Libraries are poorly equipped to meet the current educational needs: there is a shortage of reference and other educational materials, current books are relatively old and out of the standards, there are no sufficient books, computers, furniture and small teacher/student conference rooms.
There are no science laboratories, gymnasiums, cafeterias, auditoriums and playgrounds, etc.
There are low funding resources for Higher education.
In addition to the challenges facing all universities, UoH, the biggest national university, has other problems:
There is a lack of financial, academic, student data, and personnel management systems, etc.
(These challenges are being addressed – request minutes/reports to be sent – Contact: Magan@hargeisauniversity.com)
There is no foundation for UoH.
UoH has one of the lowest student tuition rates
What Role Can Diaspora play?
Create a main website connecting all members of diaspora to establish a data bank of members’ skills, experiences and educational backgrounds.
Link revamped S/L universities websites to the main website.
Use the main website to raise donations, and Let universities submit needs to be considered for funding through the administration of the main website.
Provide subscriptions to educational journals, online educational professional development opportunities, distance learning resources, online tutorial software programs for English as a Second Language, online digital libraries, etc.
Provide short term workshops/lectures for students while visiting Somaliland.
Assist in inspiring students in developing entrepreneurial spirit via seminars.
Create a non-profit foundation to raise funds (i.e. with different committees including academic committee that will be responsible for establishing contacts with other universities, fundraising committee that will be responsible for fundraising activities, IT committee that will be responsible for assisting with IT needs, etc.)
Encourage Non-profit organizations to provide more internship, jobs to university graduates, etc.
Invite retired foreign/non-foreign lecturers to come to Somaliland.
Persuade foreign universities to establish relationships with Somaliland universities to promote collaboration on academic issues such as curriculum alignment, teacher training, exchanging of teaching staff and students.
Somaliland universities need your knowledge, skills and commitment. Continue to play the active
role of reconstructing and developing Somaliland through improved quality of higher education.
Now, is anyone of you willing to volunteer and help educate our people? If so, please provide your contact information.
Contact: Magan@hargeisauniversity.com ; Agass08089@yahoo.com
Outline for the Discussion in the Diaspora Conference Call that took place October 7, 2012.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Abdi Hussein Aw-Gass,
President, University of Hargeisa
Sponsored by Somaliland Mission,
———-Summary note from the conference call ———————–
After a successful conference call with the newly elected Chancellor of University of Hargeisa, Dr. Abdi H. Gass, we have put together the concluding points and outline from the conference call below. The conference call was hosted by Somaliland Mission in Washington DC. The host were Engineer Hashi Ismail from Northern Virginia and Sahra Idleh from VOA-Somali based in Washington DC. Engineer Hashi began the conference call by briefing the conference attendees about Dr. Gass’s life from elementary school in his hometown Hargeisa up to his graduate school days here in North America. He noted that Dr. Gass was administrating school districts in North America for over 25 years. Dr. Gass retired early to help his country in his area of expertise, Education. Then the Chancellor began his outline of where the universities in Somaliland stand. He specifically spoke about the needs all universities in Somaliland are facing and ways the diaspora could help. Then the honorable reporter Sahra Idleh began to ask questions in regards to how Dr. Gass is seeing the problems at University of Hargeisa. From there questions were open to the conference attendees. We would like to sincerely apologize to our interested UK callers for the minor mistake in regards to the time. We mistakenly addressed the conference call to be at 9pm UK time when in fact we should’ve put 7pm. Although you missed the conference call we will try to inform you with both Dr. Gass’s outline as well as the concluding points from the conference call attendees. If there’s anything you would like to help with or suggest, feel free to email the Chancellor at Agass08089@yahoo.com. He is also willing to share his findings from his observation at UoH, minutes from the last two board meetings, as well as long term goals.
Concluding Points from Conference Call on October 7th 2012: These items were all agreed to by the conference:
1.) To create a nonprofit org or foundation with a respective committee.
2.) The committee would branch out to an Executive committee, Finance Committee, and IT/Media Relations Committee.
3.) The IT/Media Relations Committee would be responsible for creating a website in which the diaspora Somalilanders who are willing to help could donate to the Somaliland Universities as well as post the needs of the Universities so the Executive Committee could try to find the resources for the Universities.
4.) The Finance Committee would open an account so that there could be transparent and accountable transfer of funds between the Universities and the Organization.
5.) The Professors based in the Diaspora would create and maintain a connection between their institutions and Somalilands institutions.
6.) Invited everyone to come to Somaliland and see the conditions of Somaliland’s Universities and help out in their area of expertise.