Without having permanent government and militant groups controlling large expanses of territory, Somalia was the supreme “failed state” in excess of two decades.
Advanced schooling all but collapsed: classes at the simad university were indefinitely suspended in early 1990s and simply some institutions continued to work.
Now, stability is returning and reconstruction is under way. The national university reopened this past year and the opportunity of higher education is large: three-quarters of the East African country’s population is younger than 30, while 46 per cent is below age of 15.
Using a government that stays fragile and ineffective with the Islamist militant group called al-Shabab yet to become defeated, significant obstacles to the growth of universities remain.
It was highlighted in April through the attack on Garissa University College in Kenya, that was launched by al-Shabab from the inside Somalia and left 147 people dead.
But Abdulkareem Jama, the executive vice-president of Mogadishu?s City University, argues that developing higher education in Somalia is ?easier than [in] most places?.
I cannot imagine a country where one can come with an impact that is so fundamental as regulating advanced schooling or investing in place steps that will improve it, he explained. ?Because the political class is small and knows each other, it really is easier for us to make something, sell it off towards the minister or president and place it into position.
Mr Jama, who returned to Somalia during 2009 coming from a successful career in the united states that spanned three decades, is certainly well connected: he served as a senior adviser for the Somalian president then since the country?s information minister before joining City University, a private, not-for-profit institution.
Mr Jama told Times Higher Education that regulation was the key challenge facing Somalia?s emerging advanced schooling sector. Pursuing the return of peace to much of the country, there has been a proliferation of for-profit universities, with about 40 now operating inside the capital alone.
Couple of their lecturers have PhDs or perhaps master?s degrees and, while tuition is frequently in English, many for-profit universities will not provide English language training. Therefore, although these private universities make big profits, the potency of the educational that takes place is questionable, Mr Jama said.
In most countries, this may be a case where the government will be anticipated to element of but, in Somalia, academics are doing it themselves.
City University, which recruits faculty from across Africa and additional afield and is one of the few universities to keep basic entry standards, is working with similar institutions as part of the Somali Research and Education Network.
This is creating basic standards on issues for example the academic qualifications of staff, facilities and curriculum content.
Although the Ministry of Higher Education can not be likely to enforce these standards yet, Mr Jama hopes the government might be persuaded to put the list of universities that meet them on its website.
Students will spot this and this will force other universities in order to meet these standards, Mr Jama said. ?This is a catalyst for any shake-up that is to be useful for the land along with the nation.
Even if this sounds not so difficult, to outside observers it would appear that security remains the major challenge which might hinder universities? tries to attract researchers from outside Somalia.
Most recently, an al-Shabab attack in the Ministry of Higher Education along with other government departments in April left 17 people dead. But Mr Jama mentioned that, in spite of the Garissa attack, al-Shabab had dexlpky23 clear that universities in Somalia were not really a target.
This became a nuance that had been ?not lost on us?, according to Mr Jama, who argued how the dangers in Somalia were ?not anywhere near to the perception that people have?.
Things happen every now and then nevertheless it doesn?t stop the continent from developing, he added. “It doesn’t stop a huge number of students likely to university each day.”
Those students are the key focus for universities in the research and education network, simply because they offer Somalia?s brightest wish for a more prosperous future. Subjects offered at City University include civil engineering, political science, agriculture and business administration, all of which is going to be vital for development.