Mogadishu University Building

Historical Background

Higher Education in Somalia (1954-1990)

The higher education in Somalia began in 1954 and by 1970

Somali National University was established.

By 1985, Somali National University had 15 faculties and

succeeded to graduate 7431students.

The civil war destroyed, among others, National University

buildings,  library,  equipments and its properties.

This university was completely closed   in 1990.  Higher institutions in Somalia were academically and economically dependent on foreign assistance. “Cooperazione Italiano” was the main financier for the Somali National University. As a result, Italian professors were the corner stone  of  the  academic  staff  and  Italian the corner  stone  of  the  academic  staff  and  Italian language  was  the  main  language  for  the instruction  of  the  university.  Besides that, many students were sent to friendly countries to attain higher degrees in many scientific fields. Former Soviet Union, China, Egypt and Italy were the major countries offering Somali students scholarships and training in their countries.  After  the  establishment  of  the Somali  National  University,  students  of  the university were not only given free  education, housing,  food  and  medical  care,  but  also offered monthly honorarium and secured government jobs  after their graduation. The impact of  the  university  in  the  social  change  was  so  immense  that  locally  trained  medical  doctors, engineers, agriculturalists,  veterinarians  and specialists on  arts  and literature  were  visible in all institutions of the state and in every corner of Somalia.

MOGADISHU UNIVERSITY: FROM A DREAM TO THE REALITY

During the civil war, National University buildings, library, equipments and all its properties were completely destroyed. The academic and administrative staff were killed, migrated and displaced.  The  hope  for  new  generation  of  Somalis  to  attain  higher  education  was  severely dashed  and  with  it  the  future  of  the  Somali  nation.  The people  of  Somalia,  who  were  accustomed  to  free  education  from  elementary  level  up  to  the  university,  have  seen  their children  playing  with  bullets,  bombs  and  joining  organized  gangs,  thugs  and  clan  militia. There  were  no  public  education  and  schools,  and  university  facilities  were  occupied  by displaced  people and  some of them were converted into warehouses and business sites. The few remaining academics and professors were idle and unemployed. In that difficult  context, the  idea  of  establishing  Mogadishu  University  emerged  along  with  reviving  basic  education with the community’s initiatives. As a result, hundreds of schools have been opened including primary, intermediate, secondary and technical institutes.  In 1995, the city of Mogadishu celebrated the graduation of the first 20 students from the secondary school of Umul-Qura in the district of Bondhere in Mogadishu, since the break out of the civil war in 1991.

In  June  1993,  the  idea  of  establishing  non-state  university  came  about  when  a  number  of professors  from  the  former  Somali  National  University  and  other  prominent  Somali intellectuals  met  in  Mogadishu  to  discuss  the  possibilities  of  continuing  education  for  some faculties of the destroyed Somali National University. However, due to the legal concerns, the group  decided  to  form a  non-profit and  non-state  institution for  higher education  under  the name  of “University  of Eastern  Africa”. The aim of that project was to provide opportunities for  the  students  of  the  faculties  of  Islamic  Studies  and  Languages  to  complete  their  course work.  This  initiative  was  founded  in  privately  owned  house  in  the  Southern  part  of Mogadishu.  However,  the  flares  of  the  civil  war  had  reached  the  university  site  and  after  a week  of its opening, the  warring  militias looted  all  its  properties including  furniture, books, vehicles and documents. As a result, the project was temporarily suspended.

In  July  20,  1995,  the  same  group  convened  again  and  concluded  the  priority  was  to  form  a “National  Institution  for  Private  Education”  (NIPE)  that  would  promote  community  based education and develop further the idea of establishing a university by the year 2000. They also discussed the proposal of establishing “Teachers Training Institute” (TTI) proposed by one of the local NGO.  The  rationale  behind  the  idea  of  TTI  was  to  meet  the  emerging  need  for qualified teachers for the newly established community schools all over the country. Finally, a committee under NIPE was formed to study the proposal and to report to the group in their next annual meeting.

In August 9, 1996 the group met again and listened to reports and proposals of the designated committee.  As  a  surprise  to  the  group,  the  committee  tabled  a  challenging  proposal  to establish  a  fully-fledged  non-governmental  university  before  the  year  2000.  The proposal received enthusiasm, support and acclamation of all founding members.

In that  meeting,  “Mogadishu  University”  as  the  name  of  the  projected  university  was approved.  The preparatory committee was given full mandate to work towards opening the university.  To  explore further  the  idea,  members of  the  committee  visited many  universities  in Yemen,  Jordan,  Pakistan, Turkey,  Malaysia,  Saudi Arabia,  Qatar,  Bahrain, Sudan  and  Egypt.  At  the end  of  the  trip,  the committee  was  fully convinced  of  the  feasibility of  opening  the  university within a  year and  launched rigorous  planning  to  meet the timeline schedule for opening Mogadishu University on 22 September 2007.

In  September  22,  1997,  the  dream  of  opening  Mogadishu  University  became  a  reality  and  it was  officially  opened  in  a small  room  in the  presence  of  four  of  the  founding  members  and five teaching  staff. The first campus of MU was located in the former Mohamud Ahmed Ali Secondary School.  However,  after  local  militia  took  over  the  university,  MU  moved  to  the renovated Sinai Hotel at General Daud Street. Moreover, with the expansion of MU, different scattered locations in Mogadishu were used.

Finally, MU moved to its new campus in the academic year 2005/2006. The road to the establishment of MU was not furnished with roses.  Substantial planning, extensive traveling and fund-raising efforts were invested in the years of (1993-1997).

The  initial  vision  and  heroic  decision  to  work  towards  instituting  a  community  nonprofit university was unbelievable in the mindset of war-torn community and divided city of Mogadishu. Moreover, the community and their  leaders  were  lacking  in  faith  of  the possibility  of  establishing  university believing  that  only  governments  could  do such  projects.  Furthermore, besides the impoverishment of the community at large, the culture of paying for education was absent. These challenges were dealt with in early years of the university.

Mogadishu University Campuses:

MU has a presence and major campuses in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, and also a campus in Bosaso, Puntlad State of Somalia. The main campus is in Mogadishu which has other several branches in Mogadishu as to accommodate the increasing number of students year after year. These branches include: 4 branches in Hodan District especially in KM4, and other 3 branches in Wadajir District (2 in Bulahubay area and 1 near Adan Adde International Airport). Despite these branches which are teaching purposes, the university has its own administration building in Hodan District, KM4.

 

 

Mogadishu University- Towards A Better Future
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