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Education in Somalia

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.

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 enrollments 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 primary and secondary schools are managed by non-state providers.

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).

Recent achievements in support of improved learning outcomes include the development of the first unified curriculum and the implementation of a standardized exam system.

The lack of reliable data on children’s learning outcomes presents a major challenge to assessing the effectiveness of education at primary school level. The ESP seeks to address this gap through the introduction of early grade assessments and low-stakes assessments for monitoring learning outcomes. It also aims to strengthen and unify the examination system across Somalia.

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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.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Sector plan development 2017 462,552 375,057 UNICEF  
Program development 2017-2018 399,490 399,502 CARE International  
Federal Government
COVID-19 2020 5,400,000 0 Save the Children  
Accelerated funding 2020 9,170,000 0 Save the Children  
Program implementation 2018-2022 25,850,000 6,841,510 CARE International  
2020 20,000,000 0 Save the Children  
2013-2017 8,200,000 8,200,000 UNICEF Completion report
Sector plan development 2020-2023 700,000 0 Save the Children  
2012-2014 249,811 249,811 UNICEF  
2013-2014 120,172 120,172 UNICEF  
Program development 2019-2020 191,744 0 Save the Children  
2012-2014 199,830 199,830 UNICEF  
Accelerated funding 2020 2,890,000 0 UNICEF  
COVID-19 2020 1,300,000 0 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2017-2023 14,430,000 5,065,389 UNICEF  
2013-2016 2,100,000 2,096,744 UNICEF Completion report
Sector plan development 2016-2017 481,305 481,305 Save the Children UK  
Program development 2016-2017 184,131 184,131 UNICEF  
COVID-19 2020 2,200,000 0 Save the Children  
Program implementation 2018-2022 24,616,000 4,813,556 Save the Children  
2019-2021 3,004,000 201,449 Save the Children  
2017-2018 1,920,000 1,920,000 Save the Children Progress report
2013-2017 4,200,000 4,197,869 UNICEF  
Sector plan development 2016-2017 488,868 488,868 UNICEF  
Program development 2017-2018 164,947 163,519 Save the Children  
  Total 128,922,850 35,998,712    
Data last updated: October 06, 2020

GPE has also provided Education for All Somalia (EFASOM) and Somaliland Network on EFA (SOLNEFA) with grants from the Civil Society Education Fund, to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Somalia, and GPE data for Federal Government, Puntland, and Somaliland’s shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.

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 September 11, 2020