Education in Somalia

Progress in restoring the delivery of educational services has differed across regions. In Somaliland and Puntland where there was greater political stability, security, and administrative development, student enrolments have improved substantially over the past two decades. Post-war educational reconstruction has been slow in South Central Somalia and opportunities for public education are limited as most of primary and secondary schools are managed by non-state providers.

Challenges confronting the education sector are the direct consequence of protracted emergencies over the past two decades stemming from conflict, drought and flooding. Together the multi-pronged emergencies have had a significant impact on the education systems and on the lives of children and youth. The challenges facing the sector are daunting, including lack of access and widespread inequity.

In addition, the education provision is of low quality, mainly due to the high number of unqualified and untrained teachers, multiple curricula, poor education infrastructure and weak capacity for service delivery. A decentralized education system is currently being operationalized, however, newly formed states, regional and district-level offices have limited technical and financial resources.

The Federal Government of Somalia’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education has developed its Education Sector Strategic Plan (2018-2020), which outlines its priorities to increase access to quality education for children and equip youth with the skills and knowledge needed to contribute to the social, political and economic development.

Given that the education sector is primarily financed by donor contributions and most of the schools are either community owned or under the management of private-sector umbrellas, the ESP development process was important for building buy-in around a shared agenda for the coming five years (2018-2022).

Blogs and news

School girls in Somaliland. Credit: UNICEF/Hana Yoshimoto
October 29, 2018
The grant will help more than 32,000 out-of–school children to go to primary school and get a quality education, strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Education Culture and Higher Education at...
Education in Somaliland, Somalia. Credit: UNICEF/Hana Yoshimoto
September 28, 2018
The ministry of Education in Somaliland, with the European Union and the Global Partnership for Education, conducted a joint annual review of the education sector. Together they prepared an action...
A student at Avondale Infant School in Zimbabwe. Credit: GPE/ Carine Durand
September 18, 2018
Grant approvals by the GPE Board of Directors in the seven months since the successful Financing Conference in Senegal in February have reached almost US$300 million.

Latest grants

A student at the blackboard in Somaliland, Somalia. Credit: UNICEF/Hana Yoshimoto

In Somalia, GPE processes foster education sector coordination by encouraging regular meetings of the local education groups, joint sector reviews, and the inclusion of civil society.

Development objective: improve equitable access to and quality of education outcomes for all Somali primary school children through strengthened system capacity to design evidence-driven ESSP reforms

Allocation: US$17,900,000

Years: 2018-2021

Grant agent: CARE

Program document

The US$17.9 million grant has three components:

  • Component 1: Increased equitable access to quality primary education for out-of-school children. This component seeks to expand equitable access to quality primary education opportunities. It will address the needs of large numbers of out-of-school children in Somalia, with a focus on children from marginalized groups such as IDPs, urban poor, minority clans and children with disabilities, with a particular emphasis on girls.
    The component has three subcomponents: (1) school inclusion grants to create sustainable conditions for the enrolment of 16,000 out-of-school children; (2) mapping and harmonization of Community Education Committees (CECs) training, followed by training to CECs to support children’s enrolment, safety and learning; (3) mobilization of communities and authorities to improve safety and security in schools.
  • Component 2: Enhanced quality of primary education. The second component focuses on improving learning outcomes by investing in teaching and learning materials for the new curriculum and assessment and laying the foundation for a stronger teacher training system, ensuring the acquisition of foundational skills at the expected level for each grade.
    The sub-components are: (1) monitoring the implementation of the Teacher Education and Management Policy by training providers; (2) establish two national primary teacher training institutes and special education centers to enroll 240 student teachers and 60 children with special needs; (3) distribute 148,584 sets of seven textbooks (total of 1,040,088 copies) and teacher guides aligned with the new National Curriculum; and (4) develop, pilot and implement a modified version of Early Grade Reading Assessment/ Early Grade Maths Assessment (EGRA/EGMA) for nationally-representative assessment of learning outcomes in Somali and mathematics.
  • Component 3: Enhanced capacity at Federal and Member State levels The aim is to strengthen system capacity in central and state ministries to regulate, manage and monitor schools, with a focus on: establishing minimum quality standards for service provision; the use of evidence-based approaches; designing simple, user-friendly strategies to increase the adoption of guidelines; building staff capacity to use improved approaches; building synergies with development partners; and support district offices to carry out regular monitoring activities.

Development objective: Promote equity for the most socially excluded children, prioritize quality teaching and children’s learning outcomes, and improve the effectiveness and accountability of the education system

Allocation: US$5,600,000

Years: 2017 - 2020

Grant agent: UNICEF

Disbursements: US$661,498

Program document

Progress report

Puntland has been awarded a US$ 5.6 million grant to address key priorities identified in the country’s Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2017-2021. The overarching goal of the program is to improve the quality of education, promote equity and access for the most socially excluded children in Puntland, and to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry to deliver effective and efficient education services.

The program is built on three key components which consist of:

  1. Improving the quality of teaching in order to enhance children’s learning outcomes through:
    • In-service teacher training for teachers who do not have the required two-year teacher training,
    • Pre-service teacher training to increase the number of certified teachers in rural areas,
    • School management and instructional leadership training for head teachers, combined with the development of new textbooks and teaching guides.
  2. Promoting equity in education by providing targeted financial support to overcome financial barriers to access education,
  3. Strengthening the education system by supporting EMIS, annual examinations, learning assessments, inspection and supervision.

Development objective: Increase enrollment in primary schools, improve teacher pedagogical skills and establish an efficient monitoring system

Allocation: US$7,680,000

Years: 2018 - 2021

Grant agent: Save the Children

Program document

Somaliland was awarded a US$7.68 million grant in 2018 with Save the Children US as grant agent, implemented over three years. The overarching goal of the program is to contribute to the development of an equitable and sustainable education system providing efficient and effective services to all learners in Somaliland.

  • Component 1 envisages to increase access and equity throughconstruction and rehabilitation of learning spaces and wash facilities, back to school campaigns, establishment of girl friendly spaces, and provision of scholarships for vulnerable children, particularly girls.
  • Component 2 seeks to strengthen quality and learning outcomes by distributing educational materials, supporting national examinations and early grade reading assessments, in-service teacher training, and supporting the development of ECE.
  • Component 3 aims at building a more efficient and effective education system by establishing a school monitoring system, supporting EMIS, supporting disaster and emergency planning, and strengthening community education committees.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Somalia-Federal Government
Program implementation 2018-2020 17,900,000 CARE USA
2013-2017 8,200,000 7,611,232 UNICEF Completion report
Sector plan development 2012-2013 462,552 462,552 UNICEF
Program development 2012 200,000 198,186 UNICEF
Program implementation 2017-2020 5,600,000 661,498 UNICEF Progress report
2013-2016 2,100,000 2,087,167 UNICEF Completion report
Sector plan development 2016 483,327 483,327 Save the Children
Program development 2016 184,131 - UNICEF
Program implementation 2018-2021 7,700,000 - Save the Children
2017-2018 1,920,000 1,920,000 Save the Children Progress report
2013-2017 4,200,000 4,175,811 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2016 488,868 488,868 UNICEF
Program development 2017 166,194 - Save the Children
  TOTAL 49,605,072 18,088,641    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Somalia. View the Federal Government, Puntland, and Somaliland’s progress on 16 results framework indicators monitored by the GPE Secretariat.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.

Last updated February 07, 2019