Final Synthesis Report on Education Sector in Somaliland 2015

The Global Partnership for Education supports 65 developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education in education sector, prioritizing the poorest, most vulnerable and those living in countries affected by fragility and conflict

Executive summary

During the year 2014 the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) made encouraging progress overall. Enrollment all round increased especially for girls’ education and at the secondary level. The gender gap is narrowing. There were more trained teachers, additional schools and a great number of newly constructed and rehabilitated classrooms with good furniture. Sool and Sanaag Regions were covered in school construction whereas in the past they had been hard to reach due to insecurity. Children and adults with disabilities or special needs (705 male, 645 female) were provided with education, literacy or skills training.

The total MOEHE budget increased from 53 billion shillings (about 9 million dollars) in 2013 to 75 billion shillings (12 million dollars) in 2014. The education budget as a percentage of the total government budget increased from 7% to 8%. An additional 482 primary teachers were paid through the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and other partners. All primary Head-teachers (837) were paid incentives of $25 per month in recognition of their added responsibilities.

The first ever Joint Review of the Education Sector was held under strong MOEHE leadership. The first ever annual action plan was developed through which the current JRES is being assessed. The Education Officers (formerly trainees to the Technical Advisers) have now all been integrated as MOEHE staff and have played key roles in preparing for this Joint Review of the Education Sector (JRES).

They are a valuable resource for the MOEHE in future. The education partners are also key resources for the MOEHE. There is excellent coordination with all partners through 6-monthly joint steering committees and monthly Education Sector Committee (ESC) meetings.

Quality is still a concern, however, as highlighted in the 2014 JRES. As a result of the Free Primary Education (FPE) policy many teachers are unhappy because their overall income has decreased as the public primary schools are no longer allowed to collect fees. FPE also means that many schools have no money to pay for essential running costs such as provision of water or teacher stationery.

Moreover, Head-teachers have less leverage over the teachers whose salaries now come directly from the government. There is also a perception among some communities that primary education is free by legal statute and hence no need for their contribution.

Access and quality are continuing concerns for rural areas and remote pastoralist communities. In addition, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Higher Education are sub-sectors which particularly require more support and funding.

For the way ahead, it is recommended that the FPE policy is reviewed so that the challenges mentioned above can be addressed. In addition, more support should be given to rural areas so that access to, and quality of, education can increase in those areas. It is also recommended that more assistance should be given to the TVET and Higher Education subsectors from the Ministry, education partners and donors.


This report is written for the 2015 Joint Review of the Education Sector (JRES) detailing the performance of the education sector in improving access to quality education in Somaliland in 2014. It is the second such review to take place, following the first one which was held in February 2014. It is, however, the first JRES to review against an annual action plan, the 2014 Education Annual Action Plan which resulted from the 2014 JRES.

The purpose of this assignment is to assess progress against the Education Action Plan 2014 and Aide Memoire 2014 which ultimately link with the implementation of the 2012–2016 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP). The assessment informs a JRES workshop (24-25 March) which provides an opportunity for the MOEHE and partners to convene and jointly analyze the sector. The results then feed into the development of an Education Action Plan 2015 and new Aide Memoire.

The method for compiling this synthesis report follows a procedure similar to the first JRES, but incorporating lessons learned where appropriate. Inputs were received from strategic partners in Nairobi before the consultant (Timothy Brown) came to Hargeisa. (This was volunteered by the consultant as it was not included in his terms of reference.) Inside Somaliland the consultant met various stakeholders including MOEHE officials and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) partners and visited number of schools and educational institutions. The lists of stakeholders met and institutions visited are given in Appendices 1 & 2. A list of references used in the desk study is given in Appendix 3. The whole process was guided by a JRES task force (inclusive of Ministry officials and education partners) set up by MOEHE before the arrival of the consultant. The fact that the task force was already well functioning is indicative of the Ministry’s much strengthened capacity.

It was noted that the schools visited during the first JRES were mostly public schools only in the main towns. To ensure a more diverse set of perspectives this time and with the help of the task force, the consultant decided to choose a different set of schools and include some private ones as well which might offer some insights into quality education. The consultant also visited some schools outside the main towns which were along the road. The school visits were unannounced to ensure that the consultant saw the “real picture”. Regrettably, time was not enough to visit schools far from the main road or in remote pastoralist areas. The consultant recommends that in future reviews more time is added to reach these places, which presumably are the most under-served and needy areas.

Alongside the visits and meetings, the consultant followed up with all development partners for their results and inputs into the 2014 “updated” master action plan. The consultant consolidated all their feedback into one large excel sheet (Appendix 5) which forms the basis of the review from which both the Ministry and consultant could draw information and write their reports and presentations.

One improvement was made to the master plan this year by adding a column for the “region of intervention” as recommended at last year’s Nairobi ESC. A blank template for the 2015 action plans was sent out to partners to fill and send back for consolidation by the consultant after the JRES meeting. The 2015 Master Education Action Plan thereby obtained is found in Appendix 6.

The format of this report is as follows. After this introduction, there is an overview of the education sector followed by the findings from the consultant’s field visits. Next follows some analyses of the education sector in comparison with the ESSP, the 2013/2104 EMIS report and the 2014 Aide Mémoire. The report ends with the consultant’s overall findings and recommendations. The 2015 Aide Mémoire, which is a summary of the key issues and recommendations discussed at the JRES meeting (24-25 March)

Overview of the Somaliland education sector in 2014

In 2014, the action plan was divided into 6 sub-sectors: primary education/ early childhood education; non-formal education/ special needs education; secondary education; technical and vocational education and training; higher education; and education management & Quality Assurance (QA).

There were about 20 partners including the MOEHE and their activities were distributed among the subsectors as follows:

It can be seen from the above that the lion’s share of the budget and activities go to primary education (14 partners) followed by secondary education. TVET and Higher Education only got 4% and 3% of the education budget respectively. Note that only the planned budget was considered. The consultant was unable to obtain information on the actual budget for 2014. His request to partners for budget shortfalls (under the “challenges” column) was unanswered.

Head masters quotes:

“We have no first aid kit at the school but children often fall sick. I have to call their parents on my own phone using my money when a child becomes ill.”
“Before FPE, the schools had money and the headmasters could control their teachers.
There was competition among the schools trying to get more students and hence more money to improve quality.”
“In 2010/11 before FPE we had a total enrolment of 1,228 students. Now, the enrolment has dropped to 742 students.”
“The lack of qualified teachers is causing conflict between the untrained teachers and pupils.”
“After FPE, the quality of secondary school entrants has been low especially in English, mathematics and science. We have to assign extra classes in the afternoon to enable Form 1 students to catch up.”


There should be a thorough review of the Free Primary Education system in Somaliland detailing the effects (among others) on the quality of education provided, the present situation of the schools and the attitudes of the teachers and parents. The flaws in the system should be identified, analyzed and addressed.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

The consultant visited 3 institutions. Unfortunately, the government one in Burao was closed down due to lack of funding in spite of a massive rehabilitation program by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) a few years ago. The other two institutions were functioning well and run by NGOs, mostly with level 1 courses.


TVET requires more support and funding, especially for girl-friendly courses, and the training should be geared to the job market or self-employment. There are many jobless out-of-school youth who could benefit from such training.

The public versus private figures confirm the trend mentioned earlier. It can be seen in the table below that enrollment in private primary schools has considerably increased whereas the enrollment in public primary schools has gone down due to the falling quality which has been explained in a previous section.


The main challenge in 2014 (continuing up to the present) was that the Free Primary Education policy is not working as hoped for. Many trained teachers are moving away from public primary schools into the private ones where conditions are more favorable. They are followed by the children because many parents are prepared to pay for private school to ensure their children receive quality education. The quality of the public schools is therefore diminishing as senior trained teachers are replaced by young untrained ones. It is a downward spiral because as more trained teachers leave the public schools the more the quality decreases and it has now reached a precarious level.

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