HARGEISA (SomalilandPress) — School enrollment has risen sharply in Somalia’s self-declared independent region of Somaliland since 1991, raising the literacy rate from 20 percent to 45 percent, education officials have said.

“School enrollment [in primary and secondary schools] has increased dramatically. In 1991, we had only 1,019 students enrolled in schools but by the year 2009 some 45,223 students were in school,” Abdi Abdillahi Mohamed, the director of planning in Somaliland’s ministry of education, told IRIN.

Somaliland declared unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991.

Ali Abdi Odowa, director-general in the education ministry, attributed the increase to rising awareness and the construction of many primary schools.

“Hundreds of schools have been built both in urban and rural areas and adult education has also started,” he said.

Somaliland, he said, plans to ensure that at least 75 percent of the population is able to read and write by 2015.

According to Mohamed, 225,853 students attended primary school and 21,331 attended secondary school in 2008/2009, while 26,156 were in adult education.
[ad#Google Adsense (336×280)]
Some 6,820 students are currently enrolled in technical colleges and vocational schools.

“We have also added two social science subjects in high school – business and agriculture – which we hope will encourage high school leavers to be self-employed,” Mohammed said.
Pastoralists complain

However, the ministry had received complaints from displaced persons and pastoralists about school fees and the lack of access by their children to schools.

“Somaliland’s constitution stipulates that all elementary and secondary education is free; there are no fees paid by students but of course there is what we call contributions paid by parents to support voluntary teachers and teachers’ salaries,” he said.

In remote areas, the ministry has established a pilot project where teachers follow pastoralists and teach in mobile schools.

“This project is in Togdheer region… Teachers and the school follow the pastoralists wherever they go, and we pay such teachers more than the others,” Mohamed said.

“We have also started school feeding centres: Pastoralists’ children are fed in boarding schools in villages when their families are on the move in search of pasture.”

Somaliland 2015 curriculum targets

Source: IRIN, December 31, 2009


  1. It shows you that breaking away from the rest of Somalia is worth it, now education is on the rise and children got people who can inspire and at the same time be a role model for them. The society is heading in the right direction and every thing will fall in the right places, education is important pillar and foundation. I welcome this news!

  2. Mr Abdi education is the back bone of every society, and I am very proud of the changes you and all Somalilanders have made to improve the education in the country. Even thought problems are there and some will remain there for time to come, I am very happy where we are today and your goals for the future, in particular your projection to improve literacy by 75% in the country by 2015 is very encouraging and postive indicator.

    However a lot of the students who leave these institutions do not get jobs, and I understand you cant educat them and create jobs for them at the same time but there is few things that you can do, improve education and introduce work experience etc.

    Also some of the students should be hire to educate the nomads if we are to meet the 2015 goal. The number of students who enrolled in school (primary) from 2008-2009 represent 6.5% of the total population. Out of the 225, 853 students that were in primary school, how many made to High School?

    Nevertheless amazing out come and the education department deserves credit, at least now even students can come to places like Somalilandpress and criticize the department hence they are literate (unless someone is reading this for them).

  3. I forgot to add that Somalilanders need to also develop a fundraising committee or forum thats independent from the Education department and the government because if Somalilanders see results like this we are more than happy to support and contribute, we want to see the results. Im sure now more people than before will be happy to help because we see the 2015 goal, let's make history!!

  4. I ma very happy to hear this information of growth of somaliland education because every society in the world is developed with education and technology , i am really sure that for the come 10 year somaliland education will be one of the guide of all of society and most of the population of somalilanda are able to read and write, also in remote is proud that to reach education because education in Urban areas are not only enough for the population as we knew somaliland society 75% of somaliland are rural areas. thanks ministry of education of somaliland

  5. oh my goodness! its easy 2 claim successes bt 2 face da truth is lyk eating stones specialy whn u r somaliland government official. im in hargaisa and conferming that the truth is far beyond what we see here. if u want 2 knw more check here: http:www.oogaaye.net

    • It is true that Somaliland is on the right track to educate the young generation and develop according to it's effort. I hope by 2015 it will reach it's target Insha Allah and we will witness this vision soon and beside the limited resources from the government there are a lot of initiatives from the local communities to develop and sustain the primary schools accross Somaliland such as Allaybaday Education Development Group, Gaaroodi Education development Community, Sahil Education Community, and these communities are self help local communities and they get aid from the diaspora and from the local communities living in Somaliland.
      if you need more information please go to their websites and you will wonder how it is going and developing by the communities.

    • I heard there was science school called “Somaliland Science Academy” under construction just north of Hargeisa, does anyone know any thing about it?

      Construction was suppose to begin by 2009, the announcement was made last year by Dr Ahmed Hussein Issa, who is/was the director of IPRT. It was suppose to be construcated between the town of Abaarso and Abuuda (Cabuuda). They said it would cost between $1.5-$2 million.

      Abaarso Tech does also offer maths and science to students. Abaarso Tech is a 4-year boarding school covering grades 9-12.

      If anyone knows any news on Somaliland Science Academy (meshu marayo, inu hirgaly oo iska hadal ahed) let us know.

      • What is IPRT? Institute for Practical Research and Training was established in 1998 to promote local initiatives in health, education, human rights and good governance in Somaliland.

        "To attract skilled and educated Somalis back from the Diaspora and engage them fully in reconstruction and development activities."

        • The Science Academy has been constructed and Somalilandpress will cover the full official opening ceremony in the coming weeks. Once fully completed the school will be able to host 300 students at any given time.

          The school is backed by multi-millionaire international investors but it will be non-profitable organisation or institute.

          It will make huge difference to Somaliland education. Stay tuned.

  6. Good news ShakaZulu I hope others re-construct the Burao Technical College BTC its badly needed in Somaliland especially in the East since the West is getting Abaarso Tech

  7. This is a great goal, but very ambitious one, and with determination and hard work can be achieved. Well done Somaliland youth, instead of taking their power to lives like somalis in south, they took their power in their pens and imaginations. However, we have to point out that it takes a time and efforts to build bridges and to fill gaps, and in reality it will be a while to have education and opportunities we would love to have, but certainly Somaliland came a long way. Welcome to the new world-class of Africa, Somaliland a peaking on a hill

  8. Hello,
    Could you please clarify the number of students in primary and secondary. The second paragraph seems to note a total of 45,233, but further down the number of primary students is indicated as 225,853. I believe I am misreading something or made a mistake somewhere.
    Can someone clarify?
    Thank you

  9. its a good thing that the government is doing what it can to help the people with what eva limited resources they have, am so so proud that i belong to this beutifull land but we missing out the point people "what we need the most is to be reorganized" coz our poor government can only manage to educate the youth and provide em with limited job offers thats the reason why you see so many youth trying to cross over those high sea's and end their life,its all in search for a better job and a better life which the government can't fullfill unless it gets reorganized by the international community….We as the youth of this country Should help our country get reorganized and thats only possible by peaceful,free and fair election …there are many evil force's trying to brake this peace we achieved through this year n now that we so close they want to push us back… People guard this election by ya life if this go's well then everything go's well if not we"ll be back were we started
    ViVa Somaliland ..Long Live Somaliland

  10. Asalamu Alaikum Brothers and Sisters,

    I am an educator living in Hargeisa Somaliland. I opened a private school in 2009 where I try and do my part for education in Somaliland.

    I have a few questions for all the people working in the Ministry of Education…

    When you were creating the new national curriculum for our schools here in Hargeisa, Why did you not ask the people who count the most regarding the changes that you were implementing into the education system?

    Families, students or Somali born teachers were not even given questionnaires to put in their concerns.

    You had a couple of Somaliland nationals sitting in a room with mostly Kenyans and other African nationals that were all getting 100 dollars a day to come up with yet another failed attempt to re-write our national curriculum.

    I am a fully educated Somaliland patriot who has real life experience in creating curriculums, in Somaliland, Great Britain, The U.A.E and Canada.

    Why was I not asked to assist in this process???

    The Somaliland Diaspora have returned to their homeland only to be shunned by those in power…

    (I probably would have done it for free, and the money spent could have been used to truly help those in need)

    • Dear Mr Ahmed,

      I am interested in connecting with the private highschools and academies in Hargeisa, would you be able to get me directory of contacts