By Abdiraman Jama Guhaad
After the collapse of the central government and the aftermath of the turbulent and destructive civil war that followed it, the country’s infrastructures, and the institutions including the education sector, ceased for a period. Efforts made by citizens, with the assistance of international organizations and humanitarian organizations, allowed the reappearance of higher education in the country.
At present, there are many higher institutions with different orientations and disciplines. These institutions are facing many challenges. One of the major challenge is the lack of financial resources. For many, the only source of income is the students’ fees, which is not enough for the smooth running of an institution.
The absence of funds not only limits the growth and the development of the institution but also seriously affects the staff, including the academics of that institution as they are underpaid. Many universities would not function without the blood, sweat, and tears of their academic and administrative staff. Of course, this underpayment would have repercussions on the quality of education. I think, therefore, it is time that we discuss and address these underpayment issues.
We need to find a way out and look for solutions to help our academics. Everyone knows that teaching is a tough profession that demands a lot of effort and sacrifice. To remind you, a lecturer prepares lessons, delivers them, makes assessments, gives assignments, corrects them, and responds to queries from anxious students throughout the semester, and further, acts as examination invigilator. Thus, the task of a teacher cannot be underestimated.
One must honestly admit that teachers work under precarious conditions. In fact, they do not even get the holidays or sick leave, let alone the pension. In the summer period, many of them receive no payment at all. In some faculty arts, a lecturer is paid for a course an amount of money ranging from 7-10 dollars for each hour lecture. I feel the pain with them.
On the other hand, I am fully aware that most of the universities in Puntland and Somalia, in general, cannot afford to pay the required salaries because the only source of fund for universities is the student’s fees. It is hard to keep the universities running smoothly with the fees collected from students.
Finally, I appeal to the government, private sectors and International donors to provide economic assistance to these local institutions. It is a time that we must debate on how we can help the local Universities through Zakat funding. Any economic assistance that the Federal, regional governments or the International donors provide to the universities would certainly help them advancing and improving the quality of higher education in our country.
By Abdiraman Jama Guhaad
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