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Education in Somalia: From Shambles to Progress

Education in Somalia: From Shambles to Progress
In the midst of the Somalia civil war, education in Somalia regressed greatly with over 75 percent of public schools being shut down or left in destruction. However, in the past few years, Somalia has begun to rebuild its education sector with the help of fellow nations and the recent implementation of new policy.

On August 31, a brand new $65 million USAID project to improve education in Somalia kicked off with a signing at Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. The signing, which was well-received, was celebrated with a ceremony attended by the Federal Government of Somalia as well as U.S. officials.

The U.S. has pledged to support the Federal Government of Somalia in strengthening the Ministry of Education’s ability to manage and lead the education sector. In the past four years alone, the U.S. has given over $50 million to USAID to improve the Somalia education system.

As part of the U.S.’s efforts, which include training teachers, providing learning and teaching materials, helping with construction and renovation of school facilities and enrolling 21,000 secondary school students as well as 86,000 out-of-school youth, access to quality basic education has increased for children in Somalia.

Additionally, on September 19 the Somalia Ministry of Education announced that it had signed a Cooperation Framework and Memorandum of Understanding with three of its Federal governments: Jubaland, Galmudug and Southwest Administration.

This new policy sets a platform for the two levels of government to work together to ensure smoother management of the sector of education in Somalia. Somalia and its allies agree that combined management and interaction of the National and Federal Governments is a necessary step to provide quality education for all Somalian children.

Current development partners in Somalia, such as the EU and the Global Partnership for Education, welcome and support this signed framework.

The EU is playing a crucial role and has committed to increasing the participation of children, youth and adults in all of Somalia’s education levels. Since joining the Global Partnership in 2012, Somalia received a total of $14.5 million in grants between 2013 and 2016.

The grant has been allocated amongst several regions: Somaliland was given $4.2 million, Puntland received $2.1 million and South and Central Somalia received $2.8 million.

Part of the grant given to South and Central Somalia was utilized as funding to hold a 15-day accelerated training program and pay incentives to nearly 1,000 newly recruited, qualified teachers, which made it possible to extend public education access from the beginning of the 2013-2014 year.

Since the inauguration of the Federal Government of Somalia in August 2012, education in Somalia has evolved immensely. The Federal Ministry of Education has recorded major growth in capacity with more schools than ever under its direct management.

Through grants and outside funding from supportive nations along with the new signing of the framework and memorandum, Somalia continues to strengthen its education sector to reach its goal of providing quality and equal education to all.

Alex Fidler

Photo: Flickr