By: Mo Duale
Somaliland imposed widespread closures of educational institutions in March 2020, with the partial reopening for examinations in June.
According to researches during the pandemic, due to socioeconomic factors such as loss of household income, the number of children unable to return to school has increased.
The pandemic has affected economically the low-income community and teachers that are dependent on school fees. Ayan Mohamed Ismail, a mother of 6 students in Hargeisa, said the pandemic affected her children.
“The biggest impact of Covid 19 on children after school closure was the fear of children losing their learning. Because children played all day and had no urge to read their lessons. Also, they did not have devices and internet access to take part in remote learning. Another huge impact of the pandemic is financial difficulties. We had a small shop but, when the pandemic began we closed our shop.” said Ayan Mohamed Ismail
Hamse Abdilahi Abdirahman is one of the students in Sheedaha intermediate school in Hargeisa. His school had been closed since March before going back to school due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said students have met with a lot of challenges during the pandemic.
“Covid-19 had a huge impact on our education. I spent the 7th grade school year at home without learning, and as soon as we resumed school, we entered final examinations,” Said Hamse
Globally, although most public-sector teachers were unemployed during school closure, some continued receiving wages while others have not had such protection. In most countries, teachers in the private sector were affected, as were all those not on the government payroll and whose salaries depend on parents’ contributions.
Mohamed Jama Hussein, a Science teacher at Sheedaha primary and intermediate school in Hargeisa, believes the Covid 19 has affected the livelihoods of teachers
“During the pandemic lockdown, the school staff subsidy was cut because the government’s salary was not enough for the teachers and all teachers depend on parents’ contributions,” said Mohamed Jama Hussein.
According to Save the Children, School closures have had a massive impact on children around the world. In Africa, the pandemic comes on top of years of pre-existing challenges that have excluded millions of children from accessing quality education. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest rates of education exclusion, with more than one-fifth of children aged 6-11 years out of school. Across Africa, an estimated 262.5 million children (some 21.5% of the student population) are now out of school due to coronavirus.
“The Covid-19 pandemic diseases disrupted the children learning after immediate closure of more than 478 Save the Children supported primary schools and Alternative Basic Education (ABE) centres, and learning disruptions for the children in SCI supported primary, secondary and ABE centres. SC Somaliland at that time came up with possible and likely scenarios based on the evolution of the COVID-19 context, timelines and its implications on the children’s learning. SCI in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science supported the development and broadcasting of TV and Radio lessons to continue teaching and learning during the school closure”. Said, Abdinasir Sahal, the Head of Programs in Somaliland for Save the Children International.
The number of students returning to school in Somaliland has dropped after the Covid-19 recess. Mohamed Jama has confirmed Covid-19 caused a lot of students to not return to their schools. “The number of students enrolling in schools has dropped due to the pandemic,” said Mohamed Jama.