Located directly north of Somalia and east of Ethiopia on Africa’s eastern coast, Djibouti is a small country — it only covers 8,950 square miles, making it slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey. About 865, 267 people live in Djibouti and the country is also home to the U.S.’s largest African military base. Close ties to the U.S. have fortunately brought Djibouti foreign aid, which the country has put toward the welfare of its citizens, including improvements to education in Djibouti.
Six Facts about Education in Djibouti:
- Improving education in Djibouti is at the forefront of its government’s development policies. In 2000, the government of Djibouti began a reform of their education system, focusing on expanding access and improving the quality of schooling. More recently, in 2010, the government released another plan for educational improvements, spanning from 2010 to 2019. Some of the objectives included in this plan are to achieve 100% primary education enrollment by 2019, achieve gender equality by 2019 and to develop preschool education in collaboration with the private sector, communities and local institutions.
- In 2007, Djibouti’s primary gross enrollment rate — the percentage of children enrolled in primary school — was only 50%. In 2014, it hit a high of 68%, but has since dropped to 64.8% in 2016.
- Djibouti’s education is a 5-4-3 system, meaning primary or elementary school is five years, lower secondary or middle school is four years and upper secondary or high school is three years. Students in Djibouti begin school at age six. In 2016, about 64.3% of students completed primary school and only 44% of students completed lower secondary school.
- Although Djibouti is working toward gender equality in education, wide gaps between males and females still exist. For example, more female students are out of school than male students, with 46% of female students out of school in 2015 and 39.3% of male students out of school in the same year. Additionally, 68.6% of male students were enrolled in primary school in 2016, while only 60.9% of female students were enrolled in the same year.
- As of 2007, there were 81 public primary schools, 24 registered private primary schools, 12 secondary schools, and two vocational schools in Djibouti. Comparatively, in Delaware, where the population is 952,065 — making it close to that of Djibouti’s — there are 110 primary (elementary) schools and 64 secondary schools. While Djibouti’s primary education offerings by the number of schools is close to that of Delaware’s, its number of secondary schools is drastically lower, representing the sharp decrease in children continuing their education beyond primary school in Djibouti.
- The main causes of non-enrollment for students in Djibouti are poverty and social problems, legal-status issues, disability and sociocultural issues, including child labor.
Although education in Djibouti still lags behind more developed nations, efforts to improve education have already made strides forward for the children of Djibouti and improvements and plans have been crafted through to 2019. With continued attention and effort put toward education, the future for Djibouti youths is looking up and may very well continue to improve.
– Mary Kate Luft