Credit goes those who conceived the idea to establish a university for Awdal Region in 1991. Soon, the people of Awdal Region welcomed the idea and insights and the dedication that came from the two young men who then lived Riyadh, Saudi Arabia became reality. It is unfortunate, however, their names never be mentioned at a time of graduation ceremonies as a respect to their farsighted ingenuity.
The current President is a man who runs the University with an iron grip. He has no the perception to raise the status of the University to a level to be accepted as world recognized institution. It was not surprise the AU came at the bottom of an evaluation conduced recently on the basis of academic performances and administrative management on some East African Universities.
It is high time to realize that AU can’t be run by a man with an autocratic management. Unlike other universities which mushroomed in Somaliland as well as Somalia, the current President defied the need to have Board of Directors composed of professionals who possess the knowledge of all domains thought in the University.
Instead, he opted to an advisory committee consisting local elders whom he calls them whenever he faces a challenge to his position.
There are certain noble criteria that universities are evaluated namely:
- Academic and high vision strategies.
- Creating educational, productive, and responsible citizenship.
- Appropriate research quality as well as teaching quality.
- Application of high tech facility recourses.
- Transparency in financial management.
- And graduates employability.
There are so many faculties opened in the last few yew years. I don’t think if plausible studies were made for the needs and availability of capacity manpower. There are dire needs for qualified agricultural personnel in the country. Yet, there is a doubt if students in the Faculty of Agriculture possess the knowledge and the practices required to deal with the current immense problems facing the farmers. The students are confined in classes and thought theories with no modern scientific Lab and no demonstration farm where they can learn how to grow various crops using modern techniques.
Agricultural Extension Service is the core subject that students of Agriculture should learn.The potential people that the graduates of the Faculty of Agriculture are expected to serve are the farmers. They will be dealing with farmers who resist to changes to modern way of farming.
They like to stick to the traditional way they inherited from old generation. It is the work of the Extension Agent who should, first of all, create confidence in his relation with the farmers.
Second, he has to convince the farmers that the modern system of farming will bring higher yields and more income. He has to support his justification for change with the observation of farm demonstration in which the farmers can see how different crops are growing under the new system of farming. Finally, when the harvest time comes, farmers should be invited to observe that yields from the demonstration farm is higher the what they used to get in their farms from the same crops.
It is a common universal pattern that traditional farmers are suspicious to changes and prefer to stick to their rational outmoded farming. However, research shows buy using practical demonstrations and price incentives frame are opt to changes.
In view of the stagnant situation of the Audit imperative that infusion of new bloods are needed.
We are blessed to have large numbers of Awdalites who are highly qualified both in the Diaspora and home who can fill deficiencies existing in the University. The current President outlived any other university president in the country in the last 20 years. He gives flour shy speeches to sway his listeners to his side. I was present in the 2011 graduation ceremony. In his speech he dealt extensively the achievements made by the University with no giving credits to any other person, but him. He lauded the fact that very soon the University was embarking on Master ate program. I don’t know whether that was just off the cuff or his usual fantasy to build his own egoistic image.
As a man holding the highest academic position in the Awdal Region, he should not indulge in clan deputes which erupt from time to time. As a result of his involvement, his neutrality has been dissipated. He is a man who knows how to swim against high tides in the event of controversy.
All in all, it is a time that Mr. Suleiman should hand over the torch to a person who is more qualified, more neutral and who build trust among all clans in the Region. Whatever deficiencies exist in the University, I can’t deny the sacrifices he made in the face of so much odds existing in the country.
Mohamed H. Bahal- Atlanta USA-