Congratulations Amoud

Somalilandpress– I am writing to not only congratulate Amoud University on its great achievement but to also encourage it to continue in its campaign of promoting and delivering a high standard of education  to the students who are lucky enough to be admitted to study at this established and most prestigious educational institution in Borama.

The great achievement to which I refer is not only that the university has graduated its 8th batch of students but they have all graduated in vastly different academic disciplines which is a testament to the research and investment the university has made over the years in widening participation and access to all students by offering the widest possible ranges of academic courses.

Amoud is and will always be the first university of Somali and Somaliland as at its core is the belief that education is the light that will guide the people of the nation out of the darkness of the of ignorance, intolerance and civil unrest. Amoud has proven to be an institution that has valued education for educations sake and not just as a method of improving individual employment prospects as is evidenced in the schools medical students been expected to invest their own money into purchasing basic drugs to cure the simple illness they come across in surrounding villages where they are expected to carry out some work experience as part of their course.

The fact that the University has grown from 600 to 1600 students is an indication of its success, its ability to deliver excellent education, the student satisfaction with its educational delivery and its courses.

Amoud is also the first university in Somalia to recognise the importance of knowledge sharing with other international universities such as Kings College London in the UK and as a result of this the university has been able to prosper and introduce innovative teaching methods and courses to strengthen its academic credibility as a higher education institution.

The university’s link to other international higher education institutions has allowed it to have access to funds and grants from some of these institutions as well as from the European Union members which has in turn allowed Amoud to become an employer of some of the best teaching staff in the country as well as a big economical player in the town of Borama and its surrounding areas.
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Mr. Suleiman Ahmed Guleed, the President of the University, and his colleagues have every right to be proud of their achievements and to be looking forward to an even more successful and prosperous future of expansion into the other key academic and vocational areas of dentistry, engineering and computer science.

Of course, educational success is not just limited to Amoud University in Somaliland as there are other institutions which are also helping to the train and teach the future of the nation such as the university of Hargeisa and Burao.

However, Amoud stands out because of its commitment to research, its social responsibility and its ability to change with the times. Despite its Conservative surroundings, Amoud has proven to be the epitome of what an independent, liberal, forward thinking university ought to be. This alone is an achievement in a continent where education is usually altered to teach the values of the ruling government elite and the importance of obeying it and conforming to it.

Nelson Mandela rightly wrote that, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and Amoud since its opening in 1997 has been operating by this philosophy. However, since education is of such great importance, institutions such as Amoud should work harder to further widen access to it, especially at higher education level and within its own faculties by offering some of those who have the ability to prosper but not the finances to afford it, scholarships to attend the university. Of course, the case might be that this is already happening but the facts are that the majority of those who are educated at Amoud and other Somaliland universities are those that are able to financially afford it or those who have the backing of relatives in the Diaspora and not necessarily those that are worthy or capable of achieving the academic requirements to enter and study at university.

Whilst I accept that there may be very little funding available directly from the university itself for poorer students with academic ability, Amoud university is urged to approach its international partners to support it in its quest for widening educational access for those unfortunate enough to not be able to afford it and where possible, perhaps even raise the tuition fees for those able to pay in order to support those who cannot.

Educational access and success should not be the reserve of the middle classes and the wealthy or those that are generally able to pay for it as this will lead to the creation of elitism and further political and social segregation within Somali society.

Despite the suggestions above, Amoud University is to be congratulated in every way for its achievements in the field of education and without doubt it is an educational institution with a great past and an even greater future. However, one hopes that Amoud is able to share this future with many more students who without the provisions of scholarships would not have the opportunity to play their part in such a promising future.
I would wish Amoud University luck for the future, but I doubt very much it needs it.
 
Liban Obsiye
 Bristol UK
libanbakaa@hotmail.com

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