Somalia: Education

By Eva Cahnman


Education of the young and the old is key to a better future. If the young are educated they can work and help their countries later in life. Ever since the colonization of Somalia, the system of education has been the worst it has ever been. There were only few schools, less than 25% of people were illiterate, and hardly any children enrolled for secondary, or even primary schools. Because there is no organized government in Somalia, a stable curriculum or education program has not been yet established. Due to international organizations and private groups, the education statistics have improved in Somalia since the devastating civil war in 1991. Although, colonization had a negative impact on Somalia, education is improving.

            In order to establish a working education, parents, teachers and leaders must be educated.The organization UNICEF is trying to involve women as teachers and leaders. Before children and parents harassed women leaders and teachers. By making women more of a majority in schools all students will take them seriously. This way, students will have more available teachers qualified for the job (Communities Unite). In an attempt to raise the literacy rate of the Somali language most schools were closed. Students and teachers were sent out to rural areas to teach children and adults to read and write. These plans for national renewal were helpful to spread the language of Somali, where it was mostly unknown before then. It improved education in rural areas by giving rural citizens a chance for learning even if they did not have any schools near by (Nnoromele). During colonization the British and Italians only set up schools for military training and taught English and Italian only. Although there was one teacher-training institute established during colonization, the effort by the colonizers was weak. The training facilities were than destroyed in the civil war. Disregarding this, teacher education has ameliorated since. The organization UNICEF is helping and educating 1,142 teachers from 45 different primary schools. Now there are 10,338 teachers in primary schools all across Somalia (Nnoromele). With the help of organizations and the wanting for change, Somalia’s education of adults, leaders and teachers has greatly improved education since the civil war.

            Influenced by the teachers and superiors in schools, students need education in order to maintain a good future for the nation of Somalia.Because of acts like free primary education of eight years established by the government, and Islamic groups with enough funding for private schools, more and more schools in Somalia have been established. There are now more than five colleges in Somalia created after the civil war ended. Currently there are 1,224 primary schools in the nation, when before there was only 600 schools. To encourage the enrollment of students at these schools, UNICEF set up a group called Community Education Committee that is set up in 90% of schools around the country. Their goal is for children of all ages to enroll and complete their primary education. Because of organizations like this, the enrollment rate has gone up 28% in the last three years (Communities Unite). While help from the community is always welcome, basic supplies are essential to the improvement of education. Packages called Education Kits hold necessities for learning. These essentials include books, pencils and paper. They are sent to nations that are in desperate need for help. The education kits have been proven to achieve their goal of supporting indigenous education activities. Just from 1994-1997, the necessary objects in these kits, “increased access to schooling, universally raising attendance when provided”(Eversmann, 10). A student’s education is nothing without schooling and materials, given those things and their education will thrive.

            Although colonizing Somalia had a terrible effect on the country, it does not signify that the country cannot bounce back from hard times. As proven earlier, education in Somalia is the best it has ever been; there are a huge amount of primary, secondary, and higher-level schools, the enrollment to primary schools is greatly increasing ever year, and teachers and leaders are getting enough education to support their communities. Currently, Somalia still has one of the worst educations in the world. For the future, the government should establish an organized, unified curriculum and plan for the education of the young and old. Just this act will aid in saving the country from complete poverty and disorder. For any country in the world, education is indispensable. The schooling, training, and guidance of children creates a better future for the world, which cannot be ignored.



“Communities Unite Around Education in Somalia.” UNICEF. 14 Apr. 2005.  17 May 2009 <‌infobycountry/‌somalia_25906.html>. I received information about the organization UNICEF and how it helps Somalia’s education.

Eversmann, Eric. Education Kits in Somalia”.  17 May 2009 <‌cis/‌www/‌migration/‌pubs/‌mellon/‌3_somalia.html>. This web site gave information about education kits in Africa that provide school with basic education materials. It showed how education kits have helped school in Somalia.

“Somalia: Education Economist Intelligence Unit: Country Views Wire.” Global Issues in Context. 6 Apr. 2006.  Gale. New Trier High School Library, Winnetka, IL. 17 May 2009 <‌itweb/‌?db=GIC>. I got background notes about education in Somalia from the source.

Nnoromele, Salome C. "Somalia." World Education Encyclopedia. Ed. Rebecca

Marlow-Ferguson. Vol. #. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 1225-1230. This encyclopedia gave me the majority of my notes. I got statistics, background, and current issues about education in Somalia.