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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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|
|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|
|Sector plan development||2020-2023||700,000||0||Save the Children|
|Program development||2019-2020||191,744||0||Save the Children|
|Sector plan development||2016-2017||481,305||481,305||Save the Children UK|
|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|
|Sector plan development||2016-2017||488,868||488,868||UNICEF|
|Program development||2017-2018||164,947||163,519||Save the Children|
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.