Academic Scholars Perception of Online Education Initiatives in
Mohamud Mohamed Hassan
and Husein Osman Abdullahi
Zamzam University of Science and Technology, Mogadishu, Somalia
Simad University, Mogadishu, Somalia
Keywords: Online Learning and Teaching, MOOC, Higher Education, e-Learning.
Abstract: This paper examines the Perception of the academic community in Somalia on implementation of online
teaching and learning methods during the covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic created a significant challenge
for the universities in Somalia. The paper implements a modified version of the open, online, flexible and
technology enhanced (OOFAT) methodology with three main categories: content delivery, flexibility impact
and platform adaptation. The data has been collected through online questionnaires and interviews involving
70 university educators in Somalia. The study found that instructors who had low degree of content delivery
online with flexibility applications weakened the process of teaching and learning. In addition, the study
suggested that the instructors lacked adequate knowledge on basic ICT literacy and showed a higher level of
barrier of adaptation on online learning and teaching tools. The author argues that the higher education
intuitions responsibility to build the capacity of academic staff regarding ICT literacy and provide a scholarly
communication platform to enhance their knowledge and technology awareness and exposure.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared
coronavirus disease as a “Pandemic” toward the end
of 2019 (COVID-19). This pandemic will have a
profound effect on different aspects of our lives
including economy, health care, food security and
education (Basilaia & Kvavadze, 2020). The
UNESCO estimated that 107 countries had
implemented national school closures related to
COVID-19, affecting 862 million children and young
people, roughly half the global student population
(Viner et al., 2020).
The Somali ministry of Health and Medical
communities recommended avoiding any gatherings,
all public places including all primary, secondary
schools, and universities have been closed and
expected to re-open depending on how the pandemic
evolves (UNESCO, 2020). The decision was
implemented as a preventive measure to flatten the
curve of the spread of the virus.
In a situation where the students may not go to
physical classes, the alternative was to move from
traditional to online education (Basilaia & Kvavadze,
2020). Hence, thousands of universities and academic
institutions have been encouraging social distancing
measures and thus limit the spread of the virus. The
HEI started using online platforms to continue the
teaching and learning.
Figure 1: Countries that have shut down or localized the
educational institutions in the world (UNESCO Report).
The Open Online learning and teaching platforms
gained popularity in recent years, this new
educational platform aims to share and provide
endless access through the web (De Freitas, Morgan,
& Gibson, 2015). Recently, Open Online learning and
teaching platforms has become a global, major digital
tools for academic institutions, because of its ability
to provide interactive support between students and
Hassan, M. and Abdullahi, H.
Academic Scholars Perception of Online Education Initiatives in Somalia.
DOI: 10.5220/0010366401430147
In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2021) - Volume 2, pages 143-147
ISBN: 978-989-758-502-9
2021 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
instructors (Fagbohun et al., 2018). Mogadishu is the
principal city in the country with a high population
where there is a great need for online education.
This paper examines the academic scholar’s
perception towards online teaching and learning in
higher educational institutions in Somalia during the
coronavirus pandemic. The paper analyzes the insights
of the digitalization methodologies and tools to deliver
content, its flexibility, and platform adaptation on
online education. This paper is structured under
headings that include literature review, methodology,
results, discussion, and conclusion.
1.1 Purpose
1. To examine the scholar’s perception twards the
inistitions of higher education’s online transition of
teaching and learning.
2. To find out the challenges of the academic
scholars in adopting Online education platforms.
Higher Education Institutions (HEI) has been
recognized as the primary engine for creating future
workforce and disseminating knowledge through
research. In Somalia context the higher education
institutions with all basic institutions were
disseminated by the 1990 civil war. Since 1997 Somali
scholars started restoring Higher Education Institutions
by building private formal institutions. However, the
Universities had a limited education budget with no
government grants. Universities relied on student
tuition fees and foreign aid. The lack of funding and
budget shortage forced HEI to adopt the recovering
war-torn nation and build institutions that are resilient
to the hardship, Unfortunately, certain aspects of
academic services have been compromised including
educational quality, ICT infrastructure and scholar
development (Adam, Elmutalib, & Mohamed, 2019).
Many studies are carried out on the adaptation of
technology in the administrative level and in the
classrooms during this coronavirus pandemic. The
Somali government does not have the capacity to
invest in higher education institutions to support
academic quality with modern technologies. Oyo and
Kamema suggested that the sustainability of online
education in developing countries depends on the
soundness of its financial, operational, and
technological (Oyo & Kalema, 2014). Due to the
country's struggling economy, higher education
institutions are unable to meet all ICT infrastructure
requirements (Li et al., 2012).
Idrissi Jouicha and his coauthors suggested that
technology become more used as we continuously
developing. The study found that online teaching and
learning for instance became a part of the education
sector and aids the knowledge delivery to be extended
to larger audiences and facilitate the access to
information (Idrissi Jouicha et al., 2020).
Most universities in the country introduced
various solutions to continue the education process
during the pandemic. For Example, developing
countries reported implementing low technology
solutions to support online instruction, including
narrated PowerPoint presentations and freeware, such
as Skype, Zoom, Google Classroom, Moodle, and
WhatsApp (Mulenga & Marbán, 2020). They can
engage their students with the resources available, so
that the impact on learning is minimized where
possible. According to study performed by G.
Basilaia (2020), the first week of the transitioning
from the traditional to the online education systems at
the school was successful.
However, the scholars carried the weight of
dealing with students with different levels of
economic classes. This forced the lecturers to have
necessary flexibility to deliver lecture content.
Students who are from low-income families cannot
avoid capable devices, thus they use low quality
devices with low quality technologies. In this
circumstance good applications of ICT in learning
and teaching involve integration of technology,
subject matter, and learning online culture in
education contexts (Li et al., 2012).
These researches offer a broad perspective of the
use of modern technology in education. However,
these studies did not provide detailed analysis
regarding the perception of the lecturers and scholars
of the higher education institutions in Somalia, which
is the focus of this study. Therefore, a modified
version of open, online, flexible and technology
enhanced (OOFAT) model is used to examine the
perception of the HEI scholars regarding the
transition to online teaching and learning methods.
In order to structure this study, a conceptual model
was introduced. This model adopts the open, online,
flexible and technology enhanced (OOFAT) model
developed by the International Council for Open and
Distance Education. The following are three central
processes: Content development, Delivery of learning
and Recognition (Orr, Weller, & Farrow, 2018).
CSEDU 2021 - 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
The introduced model uses three core processes for
academic provision: content delivery, impact of
flexibility and platform adaptation as shown in figure
2. Using this principal model analysis and implements
the perception of the scholars using the three central
processes and by what role flexibility and platform
adaptation play in execution and content delivery.
Figure 2: The open, online, flexible and technology
enhanced (OOFAT) conceptual model (Orr et al., 2018).
3.1 Survey Design
Survey Questionnaire used was based on the
conceptual model developed for open, online, flexible
and technology-enhanced (OOFAT) in higher
education context (Orr et al., 2018). The main aim for
the online survey was to gather data while practicing
social distancing. The authors conducted 100 random
selections sufficient for understanding the perception
of the academicians in higher education intuitions.
The selected participants were faculty members from
15 different universities in Mogadishu Somalia from
various disciplines. Google app technologies were
used to gather and organize data.
3.2 Reliability Testing
The table 1 below indicates that the reliability of 19
items in the questionnaire has been tested with
Cronbachs’ alpha (Cronbach, 1951). Cronbach alpha
reliability coefficient is 0.887 which is exceeding the
suggested level of 0.70 (Nunnally, 1978). This shows
that the data in this questionnaire is consistent and
reliable, therefore this data can be used for further
Table 1: Reliability testing using Cronbachs’ alpha.
From the figure below illustrates the demographic of
the participants based on discipline of their study,
with 25% from Agriculture and Veterinary, followed
by 16% Education, Medicine and Health Science
respectively, followed by 14% Law, 11%
Management Sciences, followed by 7% for both ICT
and Social Science and finally 4% Natural & Applied
Sciences. All the responses were academicians from
different disciplines. Descriptive statistical analysis
was employed to analyze the results. A mean and
standard deviations of the responses.
The responders preferred Zoom video
conferencing application to be their primary
communication channel were more than 70% of the
instructors use zoom application for suitability and
class control, whereas Google meet preferred for the
ecosystem integration with google apps such as
Gmail, classroom and calendar. The Somali Research
Education Network (SomaliREN) member
universities embraced a SomaliREN developed an
online communication solution.
Figure 3: comparison of the Preferred Online Learning
communication solutions.
4.1 Content Deliverability
The strategy of going online was unavoidable for a
time of COVID-19. Since the course contents are
designed for live audience on physical classes, the
higher education instructors face a challenge in
Source of Variatio
SS df MS F P-value F crit
392.052 69 5.682 8.835 2.84593E-68 1.3071274
42.367 18 2.354 3.660 3.62282E-07 1.6121641
798.791 1242 0.643
1233.210 1329
Cronbach alpha :
Google Meet
Preferred Online Learning Method
Academic Scholars Perception of Online Education Initiatives in Somalia
managing the transitioning process. the data showed
that the instructors struggled in reaching the learning
objectives of the course. 38% strongly agree while
41% agree that the content was not designed to
deliver through online. Another main factor that
affect the content delivery was the lack of access to
digital libraries for both teachers and students to
reference and cite. It’s not yet known why higher
education embracing the open access which became
the driving force for the global open knowledge.
4.2 Impact of Flexibility
The inadequacy of higher education’s ICT
infrastructure failed to facilitate the smooth delivery
of transforming online education. The study
discovered that the absence of proper ICT
infrastructure imposed the HEI to implement loose
and flexible policies. This policy increased the
difficulty in student teacher engagement in online
activities. Online learning requires a very high degree
of self-motivation, which is found to be lacking
among our learners (Bojuwon & Ahmed, 2013). The
figure below shows the academic scholars
perspective on the drawback that too much flexibility
has on delivering the courses.
Figure 4: Comparison of the Preferred Online Learning
communication solutions.
4.3 Platform Adaptation
The use of devices, apps and multimedia tools help to
make teaching and learning a more interactive and
enjoyable prospect. However, the study found out that
the majority of Somali scholars had the difficulty of
communicating online due to lack of familiarity of the
tools as well as teaching techniques (57%). For the
exception of computer Science and Information
Technology scholars who had the unfair advantage of
being in the field of technology. The adaptation was
not easy specifically for senior scholars whom first
time was required to teach online. The results show
that the main concern for the scholars is the lack of
effective capacity building programs towards
MOOC, as 54% of the responders expressed. With
this in mind, this could be caused by the fact that
many universities do not over regular online courses.
Online Teaching and learning have been growing in
recent years and is likely to continue to grow as more
institutions adopt technology enabled methodologies.
The results of the study showed that the immediate
transition to online education was challenging due to
lack of computer literacy among the scholars,
especially the tools that enable the online education.
The study concludes that this unprecedented
situation brought by the COVID-19 showed
vulnerabilities of HEIs in Somalia in that they are
unpreparedness and ill-equipped to deliver higher
quality content with flexible academic staff and
adoptable learning tools.
As the HEIs around the world are evolving in
technologically, the Somali universities should adopt
new strategies to increase the teaching staff literacy
in technology. Thus, the findings of this study form a
basis for universities and HE associations to offer
technology literacy trainings to enhance scholar’s
capacity in education applications, and in along with
scholarly communication platforms to exchange
ideas and advance their skills and careers. The
scholarly communication platforms can be positively
beneficial to technophobic educators to adapt to new
technology more comfortable and to help them
advance in their teaching and research obligations.
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