By Dave Talmage
Edited by Hiram Foster
Photo courtesy of gtecsom.org/
Puntland, Somalia-Some people in America believe that a good education is key to the success of an individual and a country. Here in United States we spend more private and government funds on education than any other country in the world. There are multiple public and private schools for single communities and the educational opportunities seem somewhat endless. However, in other parts of the world many countries cannot fully provide the educational opportunities many are privileged to in the U.S. The lack of a developed education infrastructure mixed with a variety of societal factors can leave a country’s youth without a real education. Some countries refuse to leave their youth behind and are fighting to improve their educationally opportunities.
In the Horn of Africa, in one of the most violent failed states, one territory in Somalia is making efforts to increase the number of formally trained teachers to help educate their country’s youth.
Garowe Teachers Education College
In the heart of Puntland in the northern most territory of Somalia sits the Garowe Teachers Education College (GTEC), a place where women are being formally trained as educators. The initiative, which developed in 2000, was a community response to the poor level of educators in Puntland and all of Somalia.
A devastating civil war and continued oppression from extremist groups have crippled the already fleeting education system in most of Somalia. The country is left with very few formal schools and formally educated teachers, but some believe the situation can improve.
Today there continues to be problems facing initiatives, like that of the GTEC, in many parts of Somalia controlled by terrorist organizations like Al-Shabaab. The current conflicts mixed with a devastating civil war and these local extremist groups have made progress difficult, but not impossible for a successful education infrastructure in parts of Somalia. In Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, there are a number of colleges operating successfully.
The GTEC looks to reverse the current education situation in all of Somalia. Its aim is to educate the youth and provide easy access and formal training to individuals. By providing individuals with the proper training and sending them out to teach in a variety of schools throughout Somalia the overall quality of the education the youth receive will increase. Many at the GTEC hope these efforts will one day help make a good education more easily available throughout the country.
The goal of GTEC is simple. To provide individuals improved access to quality primary education. They do this by training individuals as qualified teachers with the skills needed to meet the ever-growing demands of education. In a broader sense the GTEC is aiming not only to help educate the Puntland territory but aims to help the overall state of education in all of Somalia.
The Garowe Teachers Education College has been running since 2005 and has since graduated hundreds of formally trained teachers. It was an initiative that started in 2000 with assistance from the DIAKONIA World Federation. In 2007 the first cluster of student teachers graduated with their degrees from the Garowe Teacher’s Education College (GTEC). Their goal was to educate the young children of Somalia. Since then the GTEC has continued to graduate and increase more qualified teachers to go out and educate the youth of Somalia. In the upcoming year another graduating class look to go out and continue the work of those who have graduated before them. The college hopes that through education and their new graduates they can “ease ignorance’ in Somalia.