Somaliland: Text Books Offer More Benefits as Opposed to Digital Books


Assortment of Books on display the Hargeisa International Book Fair 2015

Somalilandsun – Technology is ubiquitous, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, our homes and our education. Yet most schools in Somaliland lag far behind when it comes to integrating technology into classroom learning. Many private schools are just beginning to explore the true potential technology offers for teaching and learning. Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills.

One of the most cost effective inputs to quality education in Somaliland is making high quality learning materials available to students. This is more so given the fact that most classes in our country are large and parents who could help out, are illiterate and most households do not have reading material.

Most public schools in Somaliland are critically short of textbooks and other reading materials, most of the public schools and even some private schools students share text books for one to six students. This shortage makes difficult to those students able to do their home work regularly.

In recent days technology is improving in a high speed so textbooks are dying out because more materials are now available digitally. If we glance it in a globally the American educationist Richard Culatta, of the US Department for Education, said in his research “the many digital resources available will soon make textbooks obsolete. He said that while textbooks are outdated as soon as they are printed, apps and websites can be constantly updated”. So according to this research text books are dying so even in Somaliland you can feel that text books are going to be obsolete because in secondary schools and universities you can see a lot of students you are using digital books more than text books.

According Europe and Asia and how they use text books In England, 10 per cent of 10-year olds are issued textbooks. In South Korea, the figure is 99 per cent. In secondary science, 8 per cent of pupils in England are issued with textbooks compared to 88 per cent in South Korea and 92 per cent in Taiwan.

Perusing Books at the Hargerisa International Book Fair 2015In a research from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which evaluates the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds displayed Asian countries are among the highest performing education in the world. In Somaliland which is electronic and technology country it seems that we are changing text books to digital books but it is good for us to make a research before it.

So what’s so good about textbooks? In my experience of teaching, textbooks are better than online resources or paper handouts in several ways. They are easier to issue or copy as always happens in our education institutes and much easier to refer back to.

Text books have a big part of the solution for the child who joins a course late such as transferred students or who misses a large piece of work. They are a resource which parents can use to help their children.

On the other hand when it comes to proceed learning to make notes from texts is a vital skill they will need at university; with the advent of digital materials, fewer and fewer students are learning to make notes. Textbooks are fare better for revision than digital books.

Another relevant example If you ask Somaliland old people aged 60+ those who were learning in Sheikh and Amoud secondary schools if they can remember textbooks they used at school the answer is usually ‘yes’. But more than just the title of the book, they can remember individual pages and diagrams in the text. Will today’s children be able to say the same of the ‘materials’ on their mobile, Tablet and computer screens.

Textbooks of the past and present had a huge impact on education. They not only reflected exam board syllabuses, they influenced them. The best textbooks were the curriculum. They determined the level to which the better students worked.

Thank you

Mohamoud Dahir OmarBy: Mohamoud Dahir Omar

Education Analyst

Somaliland, Hargeisa

Mobile: 0634423327