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).

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  
Somalia-Federal Government
Program implementation 2018-2021 17,900,000 262,447 CARE USA  
2013-2017 8,200,000 8,192,630 UNICEF Completion report
Sector plan development 2012-2013 462,552 462,552 UNICEF  
Program development 2019 191,744 - Save the Children  
2012 200,000 198,186 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2017-2020 5,600,000 2,565,396 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 development 2017 166,194 - Save the Children  
Program implementation 2018-2021 7,680,000 - 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 488,868 488,868 UNICEF  
  TOTAL 49,776,816 20,858,442    

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.

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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 June 11, 2019