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Canadian academics are helping Somali Universities tackle English language challenges for students

Monday October 4, 2021

Garowe (HOL) - Somali universities use English as the official language of instruction; however, the biggest challenge has been ensuring students master the language so they could fully understand the content and are equipped with the right communication skills upon graduation.

Ednastics established by academics from Canada set out with the aim of ensuring that students learn the language through which they learn their university subjects and has thus far made major strides in helping institutions of higher learning in Somalia address the language issue.

Back in 2013, Ednastics set up a one-year English foundation program that has been mandatory for all students before they commence their fields of study for City University Mogadishu. The collaboration was smooth because City University of Mogadishu was led by another Canadian academic, Dr. Abdullahi Barise, who previously taught at McGill University and the University of Regina in Canada. Later, the CEO and co-founder of Ednastics Dr. Awil Hashi and Dr. Barise both taught at Zayed University in the UAE.

Two years later in 2015, Simad University with over five thousand students in the Somali capital, Mogadishu awarded Ednastics to establish the University’s purpose-built Institute of Modern Languages. “The establishment of IML was a turning point for SIMAD University considering the initial challenges. But now we’re happy that our stakeholders have appreciated the significance of this program” says Dahir Hassan, the Rector of Simad University.

This week Puntland State University ( PSU) and Ednastics released a joint communiqué in which they outlined a comprehensive partnership for Ednastics to lead in the development of PSU’s first foundation pathways program in the University’s main campus in Garowe, the capital of Puntland.

Ian Rogers, co-founder of Ednastics is a fellow Canadian who taught in China, Canada, the UAE and Qatar. As a curriculum and EdTech specialist, Ian has been instrumental in the development of these programs. He believes quality of education starts with a strong proficiency in the language of instruction. “Students we graduated at the institutions I worked with in Dubai and Doha were perfectly bilingual – I see the same impact unfolding across the country from Mogadishu to Garowe” Ian points out.

In a press release, Ahmed Shire, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs adds, “our new English Foundation Program will commence this academic year 2020/2021 and the program will ensure that every PSU graduate is proficient in the English language, so they are able to hit the job market equipped with the communication tools required.”

Ednastics worked with the University of Wollongong, Australia’s premier university in Dubai and helped build Northstar College in Somaliland, a stand-alone language institute that offers English for academic purposes and general English all taught by CELTA-qualified native English speakers. The college also houses the first internationally recognized English test in Somaliland by Cambridge Assessment English.


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