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Mogadishu, Friday 31 May 2019 – A record 79,000 pupils across Somalia enrolled to take primary and secondary school-leaving examinations, which ended today. With support of the European Union (EU), Somali Ministries of Education have dramatically increased enrolment in national examinations since they were reinstated in 2016, when 3,410 students took the first centralised secondary exams in Federal Somalia.
This dramatic increase in students sitting their primary and secondary exams is due to the joint efforts between the federal and states Ministries of Education, its partners, the communities and donors in ensuring that Somali young people enrol and remain in school until they complete the cycle of primary and secondary exams that will open up avenues for brighter careers. The record amount of students will be part of a pool of educated young Somalis ready to acquire skills in diverse careers needed for the social and economic development of Somalia in the coming years.
This year, the government faced challenges when exam papers were leaked and published online. A first round of exams was cancelled and fresh examinations re-started within a record two weeks. The Ministry of Education staff demonstrated strength and leadership in steering the process.
“It is gratifying to see the Somali youth educated and examined from a Somali curriculum that was developed through community consultations to chart the future of a vibrant Somali society. We look forward to further engagement with EU to support education development in Somalia by improving infrastructure and capacity of staff in management of education programmes”, commented Hon. Abdulahi Godaha Barre, Minister of Education of the Federal Government of Somalia.
“This is the fifth year of EU support to Somali examinations. I congratulate the government, parents, students and communities for their determination to chart a bright future for Somalia”, stated the EU Chargé d’Affaires Fulgencio Garrido Ruiz. “However, this can only be obtained through fair and competitive processes that ensure the quality and credibility of the Somali education system. To quote a famous saying that has been shared widely on social media recently, 'Collapsing any nation does not require use of atomic bombs (…) it requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the exams by the students. The patient dies in the hands of the doctor who passed his exams through cheating.'"
The European Union is the largest donor to education in Somalia with an investment of EURO 61 million committed for the period 2014-2020. The EU recognises that access to quality education is a means to empower children and adults alike to become active participants in the transformation of Somalia. To provide good quality education for all children in Somalia, the EU supports the Somali government in education reform and curriculum development, teacher training and school infrastructure rehabilitation.
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