History of Education in Somaliland and Adel Part I – by: Suleiman Egeh
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“Education is the device that takes people out of the darkness of night to the light of day”
“The world will belong to those who do the right things today” Al-Haji Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X).
“The road to education is long and bitter, but for those who take the time to do it, the fruits are sweet” Nelson Madella.
Introduction: Education is the key to progress and development, It is the epitome of hope and forward looking vision.
The theme of education is hope and meaningful change for the better. What the people of this land have done through their collective efforts, is the best kept secret the world has to know about. Where in the world, a grass root movement, comprising of people with modest means of living can found six Universities from scratch? This is an an unprecedented story that has to be advertised and be proud of. This is a vivid demonstration of progress that epitomizes what people can do, when they share a common purpose. peoples’ efforts is bond less, limitless and infinite when they come together for a noble cause.
If the current speed of building the educational infrastructure continues in its current pace, Somaliland will be rightly be on the way to reclaim its past glory in education.The country may potentially become the center of education and enlightment. Early Somaliland-the Adel empire was once a major center of education. History repeats itself, and Somaliland may be potentially heading that way as the current educational forces keep going on the current pace.
Education was the difference between advanced societies and underdeveloped societies.It is the only hope that is left to dig out the Horn of Africa out from the morass they are in.The only way to drive out bad leaders from power is through education. Informed populace is the potent force that can peacefully drive the Rayaale regime and the like from power.The collective activity of enlightened Somalilanders can oust the current government from power. The ballot box is the way out of the current political impasse.They can bring them down through wisdom, patience and perseverance.The people of this land need to preserve their peaceful dividend, they have been building together for a very long time. Peaceful civil disobedience is the only reasonable method, to topple vision less leaders that poison and polarize nations. Using the gutter politics of the past is disingenuous and not helpful.The people of this land have given a huge stock on peace, cooperation, coexistence and the big picture.The charlatans preaching divisiveness must be be stopped and discredited.These merchants of hate are yesterday and won’t help the situation. People of this land are forward looking people, who do not want to go back to the failed divisive polices of the yesteryear. The best and safest way to effect political change for the better is through peaceful means.
The legacy of that illustrious empire-the ancient Adel is here.The spirit of hope and enlightenment of the great Adel of yesteryear, has translated into the superfluous thirsty for education of today.That thirsty was the invisible force behind the huge grassroots movements, that have built and now running about six Universities in Somaliland today. Grassroots alone building six Universities without any outside help is unprecedented and historical. It is something to be emulated and copied. The same thirsty and love of education also has been the impetus, behind the building of more than 25 primary and middle schools in rural western Somaliland.The spirit and energy that passed from that successful and well-known empire is still well and alive here today. Nobody can underestimate the huge impact the ancient Zayla and Hararr (the centers of progress and enlightenment), in terms of education, enlightenment, commerce, governance, culture and cuisine have on the people of Somaliland in particular and the whole of Horn of Africa in general. These twin cities were known around the world as the centers of light.(Mudun Al-Nuur).
When ever one can look at the education of Somaliland and the larger Horn of Africa, one can’t overlook three things: 1.The role of Somaliland’s Awdal region on education. 2. The huge impact of the ancient Adal Empire on the area. 3.The pioneers of education in the early to mid 20th century. Men like Muhumad Ahmed Ali, Yusuf Ismail Samatar-Gandhi, Sheik Abdulrahman Sh. Noor, Adan Isaac, Ahmed, Yusuf H. Adan, Rableh Good, Haji Jama Muhumad, Yusuf H. Adan, Yusuf Adan Bookah,Sh. Ali Jimale, Omar Dheere and many others. The Adel empire was primarily based and head quartered in the ancient port of Zayla, Somaliland.
The importance of education for the development of nations can not be under estimated at any stretch of the imagination.To have a well-informed populace who can make their government accountable, people must be furnished with basic education. Here in the United States the major purpose of the early education of the infant American Republic was based on two things: 1.learning the bible, 2. Learning about the constitution, citizenship and the duty and rights of voters.That shows how the early American government realized the importance of education.
From the ancient Greeks, Persians, the Romans, ancient Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, Assyrians, and Babylonian empires and the Islamic civilizations reached great heights of civilizations, with all its attributes of enlistments, architecture, leadership, commerce, science and judicial systems, education was the key.Those civilizations thrived, prospered and in some cases became dominant due to education and enlightment. The renasaance in Europe was nothing but a rebirth of education. If you look of the great civilizations of the past, the major key to their success was education. In modern times, the gulf between the advanced industrialized societies and the developing world is education. The more the citizens of a country are more educated, the more advanced they are. An educated populace would become good citizens who move their countries forward. In the age of the Internet and the leveling educational playing field around the world, education for all is within the realm of possibility.The huge affinity for education, the tremendous thirsty for education will off set our relative lagging behind in technology.Our superfluous motivation and love for education, religion and culture, will make us succeed.This energitic impetus and affinity for education may eventially put us over the top. The idea of the creatation of an educated populace may be realized in a short period of time. A historical milestone like that will be a positive model for all the nations in our troubled part of the world.
The education that started in ancient Zayla and Harrar spanned over a thousand years. Students were coming to this cradle of education for hundreds of years. “Dalib” Elm (seeker of enlightenment) have been crisscrossing this sacred land between Zayla, Berbera, Harrar, Arabia and Egypt for a very long time.The huge interest and valuing of education in this land goes back many many years.
Some of the post colonial schools, including some famous ones, that were the key to the relative success in education in Somaliland are as follows:
This information is not completely scientific, hoping the next paper part III will be as accurate as possible
Hargeisa-The capital of Somaliland:
Elementary schools: Sr. Earl Reece Elementary School (Modern New Hargeisa Elementary School) in New Hargeisa
Fisher Elementary School ( Modern Sheikh Bashir Elementary School)) near the colonial Indian Line neighborhood.
European School ( Modern Shaab Elementary School)
Biyadhaay Elementary School
Dunbuluk Elementary School
Qodhadoor Elementary School
Bukuljire Elementary School
Hargeisa Technical School
Clerical Training Center
Hargeisa old Trades School (A vocational Middle School)
Farah Omar Secondary School
26 June Secondary School
The site of the former Ist July Secondary School is the current Hargeisa University
Schools in Miscellaneous towns and cities around Somaliland
The prestigious Burao Technical Institute
The prestigious Dayaha Boarding Middle School
The prestigious Las Anood Middle and High Schools
The EireGavo Middle and High Schools
The old Sheik Boarding Elementary and Middle Schools
Qalah Boarding Middle School in the beautiful Gabiley
The Tugwajaleh elementary and Middle Schools.
Amoud Boarding Boarding Middle School
Borama Girl’s elementary School
Borama Boy’s Elementary School
Borama Middle School
Zayla Middle and High Schools
The Qulijeed High School
The Lughaya Elementary and Middle School
Gairsa Elementary School
Abdulkadir Elementary and Middle Schools
Boon Elementary and Middle School
Dila Elementary/Middle and High Schools
The prestigious Amoud Amoud Middle School
Sheik Ali Jowhar Secondary School-Borama
The prestigious Boarding Amoud Secondary School
The now defunct Boarding Agricultural Amoud Middle School
The prestigious Sheik Secondary School
The 10 year successful old Iqra (non profit organization’s) project schools, is a community grass roots effort launched in 1997. The whole program is geared for rural education. This great program made huge success in a traditional neglected people. I strongly believe this program is an exemplary project for all Africa.
The schools and their locations are as follows:
1. Bakki Elementary and Middle Schools
2. Afas Elementary and Middle Schools
3.Garba Dadar Elementary and Middle schools
4. Gairsa Elementary and Middle Schools
5. Lugahaya Elementary and Middle Schools
6. Aghbar Elementary and Middle Schools
7. Warqa Dhigta Elementary and Middle Schools
8. Ali Hayd Elementary and Middle Schools
9. Hooshalay Elementary and Middle Schools
10. Zayla elementary, Middle Schools and high school
11. Lowyado Elementary and Middle Schools
12. Tokhishi Elementary and Middle Schools
13. Gabta Elemenary and Middle schools
14. Boon Elementary and Middle schools
15. FIQI Adan
17. Ilama Dado
18. Fadi Hun
20. Cadaad Daadeeray
21. Farda Lagaxidh
This successful organization has built and now running between 18-25 elementary and Middle schools, between the small town of Aghabar just North of Hargeisa to Lowya Ado by the Djibouti border. Some of their schools are as follows:
HargeisaTeacher’s Training College
Berbera marine College-Berbera
The areas where you can see well-detailed data are the two areas, I am so familiar with which happen to be Hargeisa and Borama, my two home towns. There is no bias involved at all, it is all about familiarity. My research on the other towns and cities is on going.
It is worth noting, that Since Somaliland reclaimed its independence, education has significantly increased. Despite the lack of international help, Somaliland schools have qualitatively and quantitatively increased more than 60%. The growth made since 1991, when the country reacquired its independence, is at least 20 times more than the growth achieved from 1960-1to 1991. That will tell you peoples’ inspiration, enthusiast and motivation is stronger and more effective than money and funds.The statistics is not scientific but just based on available estimates and data. This amazing growth also is an indication that private competitive education is much more effective than public education controlled by governments, be it local or national.
Ibna-Batuta and many other ancient travelers to the land of “Adel empire” from the eleven century until the advent of the European colonization in the 19th century, have very interesting stories regarding the area between , Adari (Harrar) and Zayla (Awdal). Through out the last millennium, The area attracted the attention of the Greeks, Othoman Turks, Berbers, Arabs and Europeans. Cosmopolitan Zayla(Awdal) and “Adari” were once the centers of trade, education, culture, Folklore, religion and music. Students from those cities were used to be sent to Al-Azhar University in Egypt. From anecdotal stories passed from generation to generation, as recently as the early to the middle part of the twenty century, students and scholars of religion used to go to Harrar for scholarship and religious studies. It is also a fact that, religious scholars located in the twin cities of “Zayla” and “Harrar”, were spreading Islam thorough the Horn of Africa for over a thousand years. Zayla was also the door through which Islam entered the Horn of Africa.
“Masaalik-Al-Absaar”, a book written by an Egyptian author, called “Zayla” the city of lights, which has many mosques and schools, where all kinds of subjects were taught. He described “Zayla” as a place where one can acquire any kind of knowledge that may be taught in that period of time. The book indicated the people of “Zayla” were 100% Muslim, who gather in large numbers in the Mosques of the city. Those Mosques could be compared to the public libraries that can be found in big cities of our modern times. Sometimes people in other parts of the Muslim world used to call Zayla “Diraa-Sal-Al-Islaam.
Another great pillar of the precolonial education was Sheik Aw Barkhadleh, the architect of the ”Alif-La-Kor-Dhabay-Alif-La-Hos-Dabay-Alif-laa-Goday” style of phonetics. Sheik Aw Barkhadleh completely revolutionized the way Arab phonetics is thought. His translation of Arabic phonetics into Somali phonetics simplified the learning of the holy Koran, Islamic religion and Arabic language. His radical efforts helped spread Islam in the Horn of Africa.
One time, Harrar was the 4th most holiest Muslim city in the Islamic world, just after Mecca Al-Muka-Rama, Al-Madiina-Ta-Almun-Awara, and Al-Qudas Al-Sharif (Jerusalem). People used to flock from all over the Horn of Africa and beyond to those cities for scholarship, enlightenment, spiritual and religious enrichment. The twin cities of “Zayla” and “Harrar” have a huge impact on ” modern Awdal” in particular and Somaliland in general, in terms of education, culture, civic-mindedness, cuisine and religion. Awdal’s pioneering spirit and its relative edge in education despite 40 years of neglect, is not something out of the blue and new, or started by one individual or a group of individuals. Awdal education has a very long history, spanning for nearly one thousand years.
It is worth mentioning though, that there were some educational movements, that rekindled or sparked if you will, from time to time; the ancient spirit of innovation, adventurism, love for education and enlightenment inherent in the area for a very long time.
One of the pioneers of the “1930′s” educational movement in Somaliland was sheik Abdirahman Sheik Nuur, who started the first elementary school in Borama in “1932″ . Sheik Abdirahman Sheik Nuur who I have cited many times in my writings, was the author of a well written book, published in “1992″ by the name of “Il-Bah-Nimadii-Adel-Iyo-Sooyaalkii-Soomaa-lida”. In 1959, the first elementary school in Tug-Wajaale was started with the initiative of Sheik Omar Sheik Musa Liban. Sheik Omar Sheik Musa started the school by the traditional Awdalian style of fund raising, in which he collected about 40 oxen from the area.
Another movement was started in Somaliland in the mid fifties by the “Samaroon Civil Servants Association” (SCSA). These were mostly junior and senior British colonial government officials. They founded ”SCSA” an Educational Association or a Trust Fund if you will, whose main objective was to help poor students pay their school fee. Honorable, Adan Isaak Ahmed was one of the preeminent founders of that Association. Over the years “SCSA” has helped numerous students accomplish their dreams of education.This shows the relative edge of education Somaliland has over other regions in the Horn of Africa, did not come from a vacuum but has been as a result of a very hard work of earlier heroes and visionaries.
Colonial and post-colonial education:
Mr. Mahmoud Ahmed Ali, Mr.Yusuf Haji Aden, Aden Isaak Ahmed, Haji Jama Muhumed,
Yusuf Ismail Samater (Gandhi), Yusuf Adan Bokah and others were instrumental in both the limited colonial and the post colonial education in Somaliland. During colonial times, the whole country has two secondary schools, one technical institute, one Teachers Training Center (T.T.C.), and one Clerical Training Center (C.T.C). These two latter institutions were originally combined into one institution based in Amoud in the forties, by the name of Vocational Training Center (V.T.C.)
You can not talk about modern education in Somaliland, and ignore the role of Haji Jama Muhumed, Hagi Dahir Aw Elmi, Rableh Goud, Haji Olhaye, Haji Ibrahim Nuur, Ali Warsame Biriko, Honorable Adan Isaak Ahmed, Sheik Abdirahman Sheik Ibrahim Brawi, Sheik Fadumo , Sheik Hassan Nuriye, Shiek Abdirahman Sh. Nuur and others. Haji Jama Muhumed a local legend laid the first stone for the foundation of Amoud Secondary School (now Amoud University), along with a British colonial officer Mr. C.R.V.Bell in “1952″. In the post colonial era, Somaliland schools have been undergone a tremendous exponential growth.
Most of the progress made by Somaliland schools during those infamous years was community based. By “1991″, when the military dictatorship was toppled, there was at least one high school in every region of the country. Hargeisa has three secondary schools and one technical institute, Borama has three secondary schools including an agricultural secondary school, Burao has one secondary school, and one technical institute. Each of the following towns ( Gabiley, Zayla, Eiregavo, Las-Annod, and Qulijeed) has one secondary school.
Sheik Ali Jowhar Secondary school came into existence following an inspirational speech, Sheik Omar delivered in Borama grand mosque, that moved the worshipers into a frenzy. After that day, he started an aggressive fund raising drive into the country, where he collected more than 300 hundred heads of sheep. When the construction of the school was completed, the city elders proposed to name the school after him. He respectfully declined the offer, and in turn proposed the school to be named after his teacher, the great religious scholar of all times, Sheik Ali Jowhar. That was a short glimpse of how Sheik Ali Jowhar Secondary School came into being.The construction of the school was completely a community project.The school was opened in “1973″.
High Education-Universities in the era of post reacquisition of independence
History will be very kind to the pioneers of the first post conflict higher education in Somaliland,and the Somali-speaking world for that matter. They were the following: Professor Suleiman Ahmed Guleid, Professor Aboker Sh. Abdi, Professor Farah Shuun Abrain, Mr. Abiib Ilburo, professor Abdillahi Hashi Abiib, and many others. This afore-mentioned list is neither the most accurate nor a list that encompasses all the selfless individuals and communities, who made this unprecedented endeavor to be realized. The permutations and commutations of this list will be subject to constant change and adjustment. This selfless pioneers are the Booker T. Washington’s, Mary McLeod Bethune’s, sheik Aw Barkhadleh’s of our time. This men and their supporters will go down in the hall of fame of education in our country.
Along with Amoud University, there about five other Universities in Somaliland, EELO, Hargeisa, Burao, Sool and Berbera Universities..
The end of the civil strife and Somaliland war of independence in the mid-eighties and early nineties of the last century, triggered a massive higher education movement, originally started by a few people in the diaspora, and joined by the local communities. One of the major driving force that triggered that movement was the idleness of young people, either graduated from high schools or dropped out due to the civil strife of the late eighties. Visionaries both in the diaspora and the motherland communities, were alarmed by the presence of a large number of idle youth among them, in a time of a very fragile peace, with a very few institutions of law enforcement and the judiciary in place. This God sent institution-Amoud University indirectly became the demobilization vehicle of armed young people, who would have otherwise joined the tribal militias who may have wrecked havoc to people.The early establishment of an institution of higher learning, may be a great factor to the deep-rooted peace and stability in Somaliland. Immediately Amoud University triggered the founding of five more Universities.
Anyway, to make a long story short, Amoud University marked a historical milestone in post civil strife Somaliland. It became the first institution of higher learning established in the dark times of turmoil, chaos and warlordism. Several other institutions of higher learning followed suit in different parts of Somaliand and Somalia. Immediately Hargeisa, Burao, Berbera Marine College, Las Anod, and EELO Universities were formed.
The growth of education will continue at this current rapid pace or more. Graduate education will start in a few year’s time. Somaliland institutions will again take the lead for the founding of gratuate education, first starting with Masterate Deghree Programs and eventually growing to a PHD program.
Stay tuned for Part III
Masalik-Al-Ab-Saar, Subhul Ahsha (Egyptian author).
Il-Bah-Nimadii-Adel-iyo Sooyaalkii Somaalida, Sheik Abdirahman Sheik Nuur
Interviews with some of the living members of the colonial and post-colonial education in Somaliland
By Suleiman Egeh – USA