Somalia: Insecurity to Blame for Students Poor Performance in Exams, Minister Says

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s Education Minister Abdullahi Godah Barre said insecurity and lack of professional teachers were to blame for the poor performance of Mogadishu students in this year’s school-leaving exams.

The Minister reiterated that Mogadishu ranked below the average in comparison with other cities in recently published exam results of secondary schools and that the fiasco was primary due to insecurity and lack of professional teachers.

As he went on to speak further on the issue, Mr Barre told educational institutions in the capital city to spend more time and budget in improving their students’ performance at school-leaving exams to avoid repeated fiasco.

Somali education authorities announced the results of final secondary school exams on Sunday. They said a total of 33,727 students took the exams in 114 different centers across Somalia.

According to estimates by the Ministry of Education, 25177 passed out of 33,727 students and 8,550 failed.

Growing backlash and speculations of corruption in results

The results have been called “unfair and unfathomable”, especially in Mogadishu where most of the flunked students took their exams. According to the Ministry of Education, 7873 out of 8,550 students who failed in exams were from the city, which raised outcry that the capital city was particularly targeted.

In comparison, only 4 students failed in the exams in Jubaland that made the region the highest performing in this year’s national scholastic examination.

The top four schools that have outperformed in the exams are in Gedo region, the home region of Somalia’s incumbent President which raised growing speculations that results may have been corrupted. But many say more are at stake than logic, suggesting that regional students had access to professional teachers who had studied in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.

Acting Somali Minister of Education Abdullahi Godah Barre said Gedo had outdone other regions in national exams during a trip to the towns of Dolow and Beled-hawo in mid August. Referring to this announcement, some politicians and intellectuals raise grave concern about the possibility that results may have been predetermined, given that there is no system of transparency in place in the country.

Outcry from Students, School administrators and Parents in Mogadishu

Thousands of students, mostly in Banadir region were left in limbo, who will be missing out on university places for this year’s intake. A day after results were announced, thousands of students gathered outside the Ministry of Education headquarters, seeking explanation and others showing errors on scoring points marked on papers. In some cases, students who scored an average of 65 in all subjects had failed mark on their papers.

Both parents and pupils  believe the results were highly politicized, having nowhere to convey their complaints as young pupils have lost out so much already, with no efforts to ensure that bright, capable students can progress on their next step.

Teachers and school administrators in the Somali capital said the exams created massive ripples of impact for many students on their entrance to universities and stated the likelihood of fraud in the results.

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