“A nation’s brain, self-respect and dignity depends on the level of educated people in that country. By having the qualified men and women to do the job and proper education provides such personnel.” Muse Galaal said in 1957.
Muse Galal and his companions expressed succinctly their reasons for advocating the Latin script in a letter addressed to the president of Somalia Adam Abdule Osman in 1960:
‘I think that the most useful script for transcribing Somali is Latin. It is economically wise to accept Latin since we are already in possession of an adequate amount of Latin type-writers and printing presses and any additional quantities can be obtained at reasonable cost. Latin has an international alphabet and Somali would benefit by using it. The other alphabets suggested would entail a loss of time and money. The adoption of Latin characters would facilitate the printing of Somali textbooks. It would also be possible to use scientific symbols and formulas. This would not be the case were we to choose a Somali originated script. A Somali-originated script would not spare our children the burden of learning two other scripts: Arabic and Latin, the former for religious studies and the other for advanced secular and scientific studies. The Latin script is so convenient that one is able to publish a national periodical like Iftiinka Aqoonta and liyo utilizing existing printing presses.’
On the third anniversary of the 1969 coup, the government found that a Latin script had been adopted as the standard script to be used throughout Somalia beginning January 1st 1973. The campaign had settled in areas, followed by preparations for a major effort among the nomads that got underway in August 1974. The program in the countryside was carried out by more than 20,000 teachers and secondary students whose classes were suspended for the duration of the school year. The rural program also compelled a privileged class of urban youth to share the hardships of the nomadic pastoralists
For years, one of the most controversial issues had been the question of what script to use in order to transform Somali into written Language. The choice was between an Arabic script and a Latin script. In October 1972, the government announced the adoption of a Latin script, which became the country’s official language. By 1975, Somali was the principal language used in schools and institutions of higher education.
Prepared and written by Qoorcadde and Cynawi
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