By Dr. Suleiman Walhad
November 10th, 2022
The Horn of Africa States is on the rise again. There is a change in the natural ecosystem of the region, which many, perhaps, do not notice. The youth of the region are transforming the region and those of old thinking, mostly involved in fake nationalisms and tribal instincts are getting less and less. The youth of the region are now adopting more regional thinking than the old country nationalisms which had cost the region much, not in terms of material only but mostly in terms of human loss. How many families would have grown out of all the young men and women who were wiped out through unnecessary wars and fights both internal to each country and within the region itself? The region is currently on the cusp to achieve a level where everyone should be able to achieve an optimum level in life, using his/her talents.
The Horn of Africa States is a vast region and enjoys a significantly large population, most of them youth and youthful age. The region, despite being one of the most ancient societies, currently is one of the least developed regions of the world. However, the region is on the move as education expands and filters into its vast lands. A careful look into the various cities and regions of the Horn of Africa States, shows that developed infrastructures and technologies are, in the main, in those where literacy and education, in general, is developed and such cities and regions are on the increase.
Education of the region, in the past, was mostly in the hands of governments and responded to what those governments perceived as vital for the country. Today, the story is different as both private and public education are both on the rise in the region. School-age children are mostly channeled through the educational systems in each of the countries of the region and middle and high schools and the tertiary education are all growing fast.
There are no hard statistics still available on the matter, but student population forms a sizable portion of the region’s population and contrary to earlier years in the late twentieth century, higher educational institutions are growing in each of the four countries. In Ethiopia alone, the number of higher educational and trade institutions are reported to be over one hundred with a large student population in the millions. Somalia, the second biggest country also enjoys many higher educational facilities, some originating in Ethiopia. In Djibouti, attention to education is on the rise and the future of the youth of Djibouti is on an upward trajectory. In Eritrea, the educational system is improving like all the other countries of the region and the government has taken many initiatives in this direction.
It is obvious that the people of the region are realizing that the key to further development both at the personal and state levels is education, which perhaps is seen as sacred and mostly in the fields that are seen as useful and practical such as engineering, economics and business, medical and information technologies. All of these fields help the students in listening, writing and presenting, imagining and visualizing and thinking skills. It is a revolution compared to the traditional educational systems in the region, which emphasized on socialist philosophy, except, perhaps, for Djibouti. The modern education of the region now focuses on sciences and commerce and seeks enhancing critical thinking and problem solving and decision-making honing on life survival skills.
Education in the Horn of Africa States is generally seen as a way to better life, which means better jobs and better economic impact on an individual’s lifestyle. It is why a huge portion of the youth of the region vie for education to improve their lives. This is on a constant vector rise and this is why the region stands on a better footing than its recent past. The idea of getting better jobs and hence adding on to the improvement in the lifestyle of one’s community is appealing to many a young person. Feminine involvement in education is also on the rise. In the past it was mostly the male population that were seeking education, but this is changing, and the female student population is growing.
The youth of the region are fully aware that an educated person would always have respect in any part of the world and as many realize that education is their passport to the world, they work hard, and many are succeeding. It is why the region is currently in a better situation than its recent past, despite the many attempts to pull it down through violence of many sorts. The younger population, the largest segment of the population, knows that their future lies in better education and not in the tribe, in peace and not in violence. They know that through education they can differentiate between good and bad.
This acceptance of education among the youth and younger population of the region is what is driving the region to rise again from the doldrums and away from the disruptive formulae left over from the old politicians, who wrongly incensed many of their people towards their ethnic backgrounds as the way to better lives. The youth are learning that education directs a person to do the right things in life at all times.
The Horn of Africa States’ youthful population is the key to its future development and this population is increasing ad acquiring better education than their parents. They know that education is a commodity that would sustain them like food, shelter and clothing and it is the pathway to success in the region.