Somalia’s education system will in August undergo a major transformation, which include adopting a new system and setting Somali as the instruction language for primary schools, official said Wednesday.
Mohamed Abdulkadir, an advisor to ministry of education tasked with overseeing the implementation of a new education system, said under the new system, dubbed the “4-4-4 system,” students will spend four years in lower-primary education, four years in upper-primary and another four years in secondary school before being able to enroll in institutions of higher learning.
“For the last 30 years, the country has been craving for a Somali-owned and Somali-prepared education system — we finally have it,” Abdulkadir said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Abdulkadir who is also charged with implementation of a new national curriculum, said the federal authorities had put in place a pilot program in various schools in Mogadishu, and teachers around the country have been undergoing training since June.
“Our aim is to ensure our children access to education as well as opportunities where they can exploit their talents for their benefit and that of the country,” said Abdulkadir.
He said the school calendar year will be divided into two academic terms, with the first term running between January and May, and the second from August to December.
The advisor said the language of instruction will be one of the major differences in the new curriculum, noting that the language of instruction in primary schools will be Somali, while Arabic and English will be used in secondary schools.
“During the civil war, because of a shortage of books in Somali, schools used whatever textbooks they could obtain. These were sourced from more than ten countries, leading to English and Arabic replacing Somali as the language of instruction,” he said.
Abdulkadir said students will now undergo continuous assessment so as to ensure a more holistic approach to education, less centered in passing a few key tests.
This he said, is a departure from the current system, under which students are required to sit for national exams to proceed from primary to secondary school, and, eventually, university.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for school-aged children.