Education in post War-Somalia:Developing an Integrated Thematic Model of History Curriculum for Secondary Schools

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Post-conflict Somalia disintegrated into three regions: Central Southern Somalia; Puntland; and the self-declared Republic of Somaliland. Each of them independently established its own education system. Religious schools remained the only source of effective early childhood education during the collapsed period. The UNESCO and the UNICEF played major roles in funding, supervision, and most importantly, providing learning resources and material for students in opened schools. Then in 1995, upon withdrawal of UN forces, local community efforts contributed to revive the education system. New schools were built in the Southern region by NGOs who owned the majority of schools. Despite this positive developments, Somalia still has issues related to national identity and consciousness. As part of efforts to use research to help deal with these issues, this study examined the history curriculum of secondary schools in Somalia (Moqadishu, Somaliland, and Puntland) with the aim to propose a new curriculum that will help address the current identity crisis. The study adopted three interrelated theories to build underpin its theoretical framework, namely: Multidisciplinary frameworks of Social Identity Theory; Intergroup Emotional Theory (IET), and the Constructivism Learning Theory. The Design and Development Research (DDR) model was selected as the research methodology. The DDR is a significant methodology that bridges the gap between theory and practice by testing theory and validating practice. It is a developmental research that uses empirical research to investigate the problem in real-context and, consequently, provides better theoretical understanding of the problem which reflects on developed practice. Questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used to collect empirical evidence. A total of 300 students responded to the questionnaire in Mogadishu, Hargessa, and Garwe and 11 educators participated in semi-structured interviews.Results from the questionnaire showed that students from the three locales showed significant differences in several areas and that students struggled to think historically to develop national consciousness and identity. Interpretation of in-depth interviews reveal that the history curricula of Somalia has no merit or worth in terms of developing national consciousness and identity in students. Qualitative interviews revealed five themes that appeared to be characteristic of a meritorious curriculum: Relevancy, Powerful Knowledge, Cause and Consequences, Change and Continuity, and Difficult History. The finding enabled the development of an integrated thematic instructional model which can help to determine suggestions for the development of an integrated thematic curriculum designed to deliver a new content and narrative that seeks to develop social cohesion and reconciliation and reconstruct national identity in post-conflict Somalia. The new content which is underpinned by powerful knowledge will enhance students’ ability to develop historical understanding of what happened in the past and make connections with the present to inform future actions. This meaningful knowledge will enable students to understand the civil war of 1991 from a historical perspective and use their understanding of the historical narrative surrounding civil war to take a stand on the contemporary issues.
post-War Somalia, history curriculum, secondary schools