HARGEISA: (Somalilandsun) – Introduction of Free Primary Education in Somaliland was the best investment but it has adverse effects on teachers and learners.
There are so many learners in primary level but we have few teachers, example; ratio of learners to teacher is approximately 70:1 per class. Teachers cannot handle the pressure of attending to many learners within the same time; therefore, many learners remain unattended to especially during assignments or exercise, which later lead to poor performance. Here, in Somaliland primary education is free but learners do not learn hence poor quality of education. Due to high rate of enrolment by learners, there are class shifts because of no enough classes. Some learners come to learn in the morning while others in the afternoon, in cases like this, teachers are not be able to know whether a student came to school or not, hence many learners become drop-outs because no one shows concern about their whereabouts. Generally, after final primary education, there are always many learners to join High School. When it comes for secondary schools many students are not able to due to lack of fees, hence cannot get the chance to further their studies. Consequently, that has brought that our boys become lawbreakers and way-layers in the society due to idleness and burdens to society.
Low payments demoralize Somaliland teachers; therefore, they teach for the sake and not enjoy their work. With no motivation, teachers cannot deliver appropriately to learners hence making their work boring hence they don’t teach, only give out notes to be copied or written in the black board. They also start private schools where they spend much time instead of attending to governmental jobs. Several teachers opt to work in other sectors or their own business, as they get bored in education sector, the pay is low and with too much work to be done. It seems that many teachers prefer working in well-paying jobs and at the end teaching profession is going to be lost and that will increase the shortage of teachers that has already overwhelmed the quality of the education in our country.
One of the worse thing for our teacher is that Instead of imparting knowledge and skills in students, they drill them to pass examinations and get recognitions; we end up not producing intellectuals but puppets, this makes learners lack knowledge and skills at work and can be easily manipulated by their bosses. There is no spaces and free time which is a vital part in child’s development both socially and psychologically.
There are semi-literate or uneducated government workers in our country. Some occupy very important posts in the ministry of education and this is bad example to youths who argue that,” it is not important to go to school to get a better job or earn a lot of money.” This actually shows that education is not the key to success. Moreover, when it comes to making vital decisions in the government or negotiating Aid Agencies, it is always a challenge because they easily get manipulated, reason, they don’t have knowledge and skills in handling office matters. No proper education no good leadership.
On other hand in our schools there are mixing slow learners and fast learners and normally, some people need special attention to perform better. In our country, this is not considered; slow and fast learners are mixed in class. Fast learners always feel lugged behind and find class so boring while slow learners always feel ignored and get demoralized. Their class work is always poor and cannot perform outside their capabilities. Finally, slow learners turn to get aggressive and drop out of school.
To my recommendations start with, Somaliland government need to hire enough teachers to match with number of scholars. Example the ratio of learners to teachers should be 30:1. Learners need proper attention to perform better. You should not only give free education but you need also to make sure that learning process is going on for education to have a meaning. In addition, governments need to offer funds to schools for building extra classes to accommodate all students in order to avoid class shifts. Teachers will be able to know who is in class and who is not. This will make work much easier for teachers in handling their students and understanding their needs and in the end students’ performances will be boosted.
Governments also need to regulate examination system in order to avoid administering too much exams to students in short intervals. This will give students time to stop reading too much and enable them to socialize and play with others which is vital for their development. They absorb contents taught and put into practice. This eliminates drilling by teachers and instead imparting knowledge and skills in learners. Moreover, syllabi should be relevant and equal to the number of years in each level of education to avoid unnecessary free time. Students will get enough time to spend with their parents and fellow age-mates, hence stress free and this surely will boost their academic performance.
Leaders are role models in the society and should set good examples to their people. With good educational background, our people will know that without education, no good jobs and this will make future aspiring leaders to work hard in school to meet the set qualifications. This motivates youths to study hard, hence promoting education. The government should also emphasize in employing only qualified and Certified teachers to various education institutions and even private education should be enforced not hire uncertified teachers.
At the end, the future of Somaliland educationally lies in the hands of our leaders. You have the ability to leave a lasting legacy during your tenures by meeting all educational needs like good classrooms for all, providing good educational foundation to our youth, employing enough teachers for every student to get attention and giving the best motivation to the teachers by understanding their needs.
Mohamoud Dahir Omar