Education is a basic need of every society. A better education system can enhance the social, scientific, and technological improvement of a country. The human resource development of a country depends upon the quality of education imparted in the country. Higher education provides to the education in the colleges and universities. Higher education is recognized today as a capital investment and is of paramount importance for the economic and social development of the country. Higher education plays a vital role in the overall development and growth of a nation. Higher education is a powerful tool to build modern, value-based, knowledge-based, culture based, and peaceful society which can lead the country towards becoming a superpower in the world.
Institutions of higher education have the primary responsibility for equipping individuals with advanced knowledge and skills required for positions of responsibility in government, business, and other professions. The quality of higher education is a source of great potential for the socio- economic and cultural development of the country. The nation can be transformed into a developed nation within the lifetime of a single generation.
The purpose of higher education is not simply to convey knowledge in certain branches of knowledge; it has deeper meaning and objectives. The purpose may be multidimensional and may be termed as personal, social, economic, and cultural.
What is the meaning of Quality in Education?
The quality in education need to be defined in the wider sense of the overall aim of education as the all-around development of the individual and his commitment to social objectives; and viewed in this context, there is no doubt that vigorous efforts will have to be made to improve these to suit the changing needs of the country. It has become increasingly evident that the relevance of education, its significance, its validity for personal aspiration, its link with societal needs and goals, its efficiency and impact are the basic parameters of every educational system. Quality in education can also be interpreted from a different viewpoint; it means educational standards are judged from examination results. An educational institution that shows high pass percentage is considered to be an institute of great quality.
Somaliland challenges in higher education
Somaliland needs multi-dimensional and broad-based quality education to maintain its development in the 21st century, therefore Somaliland should show the concern over the quality in education as the education in Somaliland is not competitive in terms of the quantity and quality with other countries. Quality in higher education is a burning issue which can be ensured through regular review of the function of the institutions either through self-assessment or through outside agencies and by accrediting the institutions. The expansion of higher education over the years has also resulted in educational malpractices, which exist in the form of capitation fees being charged by the private institutions at the time of admissions in addition to the fees. The entry of a large number of private institutions has also resulted in rapid increase in proceedings involving students, teachers, employees, management of higher educational institutions and universities and other stakeholders negatively impacts the quality of education and efficient function of the institutions.
Factors Influencing Quality in Higher Education:
The scope of the idea of quality is severely limited by two widely prevailing views.
- Quality is a selective phenomenon and only few can attain it.
- Quality for the quality sake or with regards to a specific area rather than quality as mutually exclusive and emphasize selectively at the expense of equity.
Quality in education depends on several factors. A few of them include:
- Politicization: Politicization of higher education has posed a serious threat to the quality of higher education. Appointment of Vice-chancellors in many instances is being viewed politically.
- Poor quality of intake: In order to attract students for admission, the universities go on awarding high grades/marks to undeserving candidates. The university departments admitting students on the basis of career marks get cheated in many situations and thus get poor quality of students.
- Managerial Inefficiency: generally, principals are appointed based on the seniority and the managerial efficiency is not taken into account. There is no regular orientation program for newly appointed principals. It affects the quality of education as they don’t have the influential managerial skills.
- Overcrowded Classrooms: lack of an adequate number of teachers and classrooms force many universities to reduce their number of groups and merge them into larger groups making it possible for a teacher to carry out effective classroom interaction.
- Inadequate Student Services: Most of the higher education institutions today are not capable enough to provide services for conducting orientation program, health services, hostel facilities, guidance and counseling services to the students.
- Inadequate material resources: Most of the higher education institutions at present do not have proper material resources like building, playground, a good number of classrooms, infrastructure, and laboratory with sufficient equipment, toilet facility, and staffrooms.
- Non- accountability of institutions: Non-accountability of the institutions leads to the poor quality in higher education.
- Inefficiency in Teaching: An effective teacher needs to be a lifelong learner and needs to strengthen his knowledge voluntarily. A good institution is known by its teachers. The institution should be supplied with various journals and good library facility which will energize the teachers’ proficiency and competency.
- Examination Reforms: Reforms in the examination system is the most common phenomenon in the recent past. Most of the researchers and academians are not satisfied with the present examination system. It may be true for years because the pitfalls in the evaluation system make the examination system ruin. The evaluation is not reliable. This can be changed by using the new methods of the grading system and other various innovative methods.
- Teaching Methods: the curriculum framework should be such a way that it should provide new knowledge which is useful to the society and also provides the employability opportunities. The teachers should use qualitative teaching learning material and also aware of the use of multimedia.
There are other factors also which are affecting the quality of higher education such as motivation of the teachers and students, a favorable environment for teaching-learning process, the irrelevance of the curriculum leading towards the low employability etc. which needs to be improved for enhancing the quality of higher education in Somaliland.
Thus it can be concluded that education is the key to the progress especially higher education which provides the cutting edge and skilled manpower. But, quality of higher education is declining and is a matter of concern for all the stakeholders as well as for the whole nation. Somaliland higher education has expanded in quantity but lacking behind in terms of quality. Somaliland cannot progress until its higher education system is qualitatively strong enough because this poor quality is resulting in low employability, low performance of the specialized individuals, lack of innovative and creative ideas etc. which are the key elements of success and progress in present time. All in all, there is a need to enlarge the adaptive capacity and quality of the higher education system so that it is more responsive to the changing world of work and meets the diversified needs of the economy both domestic and global. For that purpose diversification of the Somaliland higher education and training system has to be pursued as a goal.
By: khadar Da’ud Abdirahman (MSc)