Sustaining Education is Sustaining Life. While education brings changes in lives and carries prosperity to the humanity at the same time educational institutions find it challenging to sustain itself. Many educational institutions in the third world countries depend upon external donations and Government support to run the institutions. In the present fast moving and demanding world quality and excellence is the majoring rod for success. To be an effective organization it is necessary to have well defined Mission, Vision and Core Value in place and in practice. This not only allows for more experimentation, research, diversification and team work but also encourages leadership, invites strategic thinking and establishes supportive work environment and work culture. To run all these things and continue in the effort it is necessary to have technical, managerial and financial resources available within the institution for use and support.
Yesterday I had visited Amoud University in Borama. Borama is a small town of Somaliland. Borama is strategically situated bordering to Djibouti and Ethiopia.
The Amoud University is located outskirt of Borama on a valley. The scenic beauty of nature and the very location of the University not only attract students and local natives but also visitors within and outside the Somaliland. The name Amoud (literary meaning is Valley) justifies is location and presence. There are no public or private transportation facilities available for the university campus but one can avail University transportation facilities. Students and lecturers use University bus for coming to the University.
The University is situated over 30 to 40 acres of land. More than 25 rooms and halls available for use as class room, computer laboratory, Director’s room, staff room, library etc. The University also has an extension study centre in Baroma town. Quarters for supporting staff are also available.
The University has a generator which can supply power to all blocks of the campus, 24 hours pipe water supply and also a canteen for tea, snacks and cool drinks.
The University has a big library with more than 83,000 reference books, magazines and reports. It has more than 50 personal computers, one printer cum photocopier and one in focus (projector). For transportation it has five 30 seated bus and a small 8 seated cab.
There are more than 30 teaching staff, 10 supporting staff are working in the university as full timer. Most of the staff are from Hargeisa town and they stay in Baroma.
Student and courses:
At present 3 major courses are available. These are on Business administration, Education (Science stream), Medicine and Surgery. Along with these a new course is introduced for imparting training to secondary school teachers. Altogether 450 students are participating in the education in different semesters. Majority of students are from Somaliland but there are few students from neighbouring countries.
How the University has been running?
The University has a management committee to look after over all work. Director of the University manages day to day functions of the University. To run the University an amount of 200,000 US dollars required each year. Though the actual requirement is more but University manages within this by reducing activities and payments. Nearly forty to fifty percent of total revenue comes from Students fees and rest of amount comes from donation from International Organizations, donor agencies, local community in Somaliland and Somali Diaspora and from government grant.
The library books and vehicles are donated by agencies and individual donors from Diaspora. Generator and some computers are received from the President of Djibouti as donation, Computers for students and staff are from International Cooperation for Development (ICD). ICD (CIIR) also provides Development Workers to the University under skill sharing programme. Development workers supported University for management of library and Information Technology program.
The major expenses for the university are under the head salary to the staff, teaching materials and student’s examination expenses, running cost for Generator, Water, Vehicle, maintenance and day to day management.
The Challenge before the University is how to be self-sufficient in terms of financial, technical and managerial.
I request your suggestions and opinions. Suggest how the University can run with limited external funding or no external support.
I am putting my suggestions here:
Corpus Fund: Generating fund by collecting from agencies, Government, individuals and from different sources in the form of donations or revenue. Continue collections and deposit in the bank as a fixed deposit. After 10 to 15 years the interest of the bank deposit can be used as a part of sustenance.
Research, Training and consultancy Programme: As the University has infrastructure (Rooms, Library, Bus, generator, Computer, projector) and person power for general and technical support (teaching and supporting staff) in place so the university can take up small training programmes with the help of teaching staff for Local NGOs, INGOs, Government, business people and other groups. Using their present area of expertise of the university like economics, science, health, medical, computer etc, training programmes like Micro – credit, self help group, small business / entrepreneurship, laboratory technician training, community health training, data entry operator, basic English, training for health staff, general management, human resource management etc can be organised. University can take up research and consultancy projects of Government, UN, INGOs and others to generate revenue.
Field Extension Programme: Under field extension programme University can take up development projects with the support of UN, International Donors, Government and NGOs. Separate development wing can be functional with the guidance of some teaching staff. Student’s knowledge, skill and time can be use for this. Or field work could be a part of teaching and every student should take field work as a compulsory subject.
Facility renting: University can rent its existing facility like rooms, computer, library etc for different training programmes, conference, workshop, seminar etc to outsiders.
Opening study centres: University can open study centres for International Education Institutions in the university campus.
Certificate Courses: 3 months or 6 months Certificate course on Rural Development, Business Management, Health Management, IT management, Data entry operator, etc can be introduced. Government, private and Non Government Agencies can be contacted for providing job placement of these students.
To start all these University needs to do two major things. One is equipping its staff through training, orientation or exposure to take up above tasks. Second is establishing contact with any agency or agencies to avail support to start the activities at the beginning stage.
What is your suggestions?