Somalia fights to standardise schools with first new curriculum since civil war began

Source: Reuters – 408 Words

The new books cover English, Arabic, Somali, maths, Islamic studies, science, physical education, technology, and social studies. “Students have coped well with the new curriculum because it is based on their religion, culture and vernacular,” said Muhidin’s teacher, Abdulkadir Mohamed Sheikh. Religious education is particularly important, said State Minister of Higher Education And Culture Abdirahman Mohamed Abdulle.

The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgency also regularly launches deadly bomb attacks in Somalia in a bid to impose its own strict version of Islamic law.

The government hopes the new textbooks will help counter their message. Clerics helped the government train teachers in Islamic ethics and create a syllabus that “will produce students who are sound, who are free from terror ideology, moderate students who have Islamic knowledge as well as other subjects”, Abdulle said.

However, challenges remain. Only 22% of Somalia’s 30,000 teachers are certified, Abdulle said. “The quality of students depends on the quality of the quality of teachers,” he said.