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Somalia: Godah renews war against Puntland education system

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Secondary school students from the federal state of Puntland will not have their final certificates recognized by Mogadishu administration, Somalia's education minister Abdullahi Godah Bare has said, in a statement which has already sparked protests from senior officials from the northeastern state.

In an interview with the Voice of America's Somali Service, Godah insisted the Federal Education Ministry will not provide certificates to Puntland graduate students after the state's officials reportedly refused to cooperate with the national government on the unification of the examination.

Somalia, he said, will only recognize students whose regions cooperated with the education department in Mogadishu while administering the exams in compliance with several regulations among them strict adherence to the syllabus.

The decision will jeopardize and probably curtail the future of dozens of students who sat for their final exams in Puntland, one of the most stable federal state of Somalia, which runs an organized education system, but has always been subjected to resistance from the national government due to persistent ideological differences.

“The responsibility of the national government is to give certificates to all students who sat for the exams by following the rules and regulations but it is unjust to provide a certificate to an examiner who didn’t take similar exams," Godah told the VOA Somali service.

National examination for primary schools started on Saturday in parts of the country and are expected to conclude tomorrow [Wednesday], but Puntland had started the examinations a week earlier, a move that irked the national department.

Puntland has not been recognizing standardized federal examination and has been organizing parallel tests, further causing confusion from both parties. The state has been faulting the federal government of failing to administer quality education besides massive irregularities.

In a rejoinder, Puntland's education minister Abdullahi Mohamed rebuked Godah, arguing that Godah Barre had "personalized" the education system in Somalia, adding that the directive is "illogical and irregular". He said Puntland will continue to administer its own exams.

"If the certificate belongs to Minister...he is free to deny it. But if it is the property of all Somalis, he has no right to stop Puntland students from obtaining it," said Puntland's education minister.

The Federal State minister added that nobody can frustrate learners from the region from getting their certificates after sitting for the exams. He said Somalis cannot be gagged by one person who is "full of attitude" and doesn't want to accommodate "divergent" views.

The education system in Somalia has been facing a host of challenges including but not limited to standards, a move which may have informed Puntland to come up with a parallel system for the sake of helping to promote literacy in the country.

Somalia has not had a stable government for almost three decades now following the ouster of dictator Siad Barre, who ruled the country from 1969 to 1991. The education system has struggled to pick due to unending wrangles both at the regional and national levels.