The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports Homepage of the World Education Forum
Contents of country report Homepage of country reports Country reports listed alphabetically Country reports by region

Next Page

Part I: Descriptive Section


This report is a response to the call by the International Conveners (IC) of the Education for All (EFA) Year 2000 Assessment. Given that since 1991 Somalia has had no country-wide government and therefore no ministry of education, there was no machinery for undertaking the EFA 2000 Assessment. The international donor agencies that have been substantially involved in the rehabilitation and development of education in Somalia vicariously took the responsibility of preparing this report so that, among other things, the current status and future prospects could – at the global level – be weighed against those of other countries.

Units of the IC on the ground in Somalia – UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP and UNFPA – took a leading role in the preparation of the report. An educational consultant, B M Makau of Research and Evaluation Associates in Nairobi, was hired to assist in working out a viable application of the international Technical Guidelines to the situation in Somalia and preparing the draft report. The consultant’s products were discussed and further developed in meetings of the Education Sectoral Committee of the Somalia Aid Coordination Body, and through reviews by individual officers (both expatriate and national) in the relevant UN organisations.

A number of constraints, described in section 4.2, posed a major challenge to the assessment. In particular, it was not possible to collect primary data specifically for the EFA assessment. This led to reliance on data collected for other purposes. Some of this data is subject to certain limitations and may not fully reflect the reality on the ground. However, analysis of the available data has permitted the preparation of a report that portrays the main features of and problems facing basic education in Somalia during the EFA decade. While cognisance is made of the macro problems that continue to afflict Somali society, the report makes suggestions as to what needs to be done if EFA is to be attained early in the 21st century.

Gianfranco Rotigliano Randolph Kent Nureldin Satti

Representative Representative Director


UN Resident and Humanitarian Representative

Coordinator UNESCO Somalia

Nairobi September 1, 1999


AIR Apparent Intake Rate

CEC Community Education Committee

EC European Commission

EFA Education for All

EMIS Education Management Information System

ESC Education Sectoral Committee

GER Gross Enrolment Ratio

GNP Gross National Product

ICF-EFA International Consultative Forum on Education for All

IDPs Internally Displaced Persons

IEES Improving the Efficiency of Educational Systems (an initiative established by the US Agency for International Development)

INGO International Non-governmental Organisation

NER Net Enrolment Ratio

NGO Non-governmental Organisation

NIR Net Intake Rate

PCR Pupils per Class Ratio

PEER Programme of Education for Emergencies and Reconstruction

PTR Pupils per Teacher Ratio

RS Republic of Somaliland

SACB Somalia Aid Coordination Body

TCR Teachers per Class Ratio

UNDOS United Nations Development Office for Somalia

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

UNDP United Nations Development Programme

UNFPA United Nations Fund for Population Agency

UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund

UNOPS United Nations Office for Project Services

UNOSOM United Nations Operations in Somalia

WFP World Food Programme





Somalia, with a land area of about 638,000 square kilometres, is located in the eastern portion of the Horn of Africa. Lying between longitudes 410 E and 51024' E and latitudes 110 30' N and 1030' S, it borders Kenya to the south-west, Ethiopia to the west and Djibouti to the north. It has a coastline of over 3,000 km stretching from Djibouti in the north on the Gulf of Aden to Kenya in the south on the Indian Ocean. Mogadishu, the largest city in Somalia, is located about a third of the coastline distance between Kenya and Cape Guardafui, the easternmost point of the Horn of Africa.
The highest altitudes in Somalia are found in the northern and north-eastern regions, which comprise about a third of the country’s land area. These regions are characterised by (a) a narrow coastal strip (<500 m above sea level) on the Gulf of Aden; and (b) plateaux and mountains (mostly 500-2000 m high) that are an extension of the much higher Ethiopian highlands. The larger and most populous part of the country, central and southern Somalia, comprises extensive lowlands (0-200 m and widest towards the Kenya border and along the river valleys of the Juba and the Shebelle), plains in the 200-500 m range and plateaux with an altitude of 500-1000 m. The Juba and Shebelle rivers, originating from the wet Ethiopian highlands, although often subject to disastrous flooding, are important sources of water and their valleys comprise the most fertile land in the country.
Rainfall and temperature vary considerably from region to region and from season to season. High temperatures (often >300C) are characteristic of most of Somalia. However, in the northern regions, high altitude contributes to lower temperatures ranging from local frosts (in the highest areas) to about 250C during winter in the northern hemisphere. Rainfall (received during two rainy seasons - April/May and October to December) is unreliable and sparse. Few areas receive more than 500 mm annually and most have considerably less. High temperatures over most of Somalia lead to high evapotranspiration rates, thus rendering the rainfall inadequate for crop cultivation in many areas. UNDP (1998:22) describes the ramifications of climate on land use in Somalia as follows:
Its relatively harsh semi-arid environment places real limits on "carrying capacity" of the land, and favours pastoral nomadism as the most effective use of the land in most parts of the country. Only about 13% of the land is cultivable and 45% suitable for raising livestock...Water is a scarce and valued commodity in this context, and an environmental constraint that easily provokes communal conflicts over wells.


As no recent census has been conducted, the total population of Somalia is subject to several guesstimates exhibiting considerable variations. Largely on the advice of a consultant from the US Bureau of the Census, UNDOS makes the following estimates: 1995 - 6.26 million (m); 1997 - 6.59 m; 1999 - 7,14 m and 2000 - 7.43 m. An average annual growth rate of 2.76% for the period 1995 to 2000 is estimated. Although two decades of violent disturbances have led to major changes in the location of human settlement, the population can be classified into three categories: nomadic pastoralist (52%), sedentary rural (24%) and urban (24%).


With an estimated GNP per capita of US $176 in 1997, Somalia is among the five poorest countries in the world (Nair and Abdulla, 1998). The economy is agro-based with the following major activities (a) rearing of livestock (cattle, goats, sheep, and camels); (b) production of cash crops (e.g. bananas and other horticultural produce) largely under irrigation in the river valleys of the Juba and Shebelle; and (c) cultivation of subsistence crops (sorghum, millet, maize, pulses and vegetables). Also important is exploitation of natural environment (e.g. aromatic gum-harvesting and fishing among some coastal inhabitants). A thriving export trade, particularly of livestock and livestock products to Middle East countries and bananas to the European Union, is the most important foreign exchange earner. Among imports into Somalia are petroleum products, manufactured goods, khat (a mildly narcotic drug grown in Kenya, Ethiopia and parts of the Middle East) and food commodities such as wheat flour, rice, pasta, sugar and oil seed which constitute an important part of the Somali diet. Somalia has a strong internal trading system based on a thriving entrepreneurial sector that deals in services and goods (both local and imported). Remittances from Somalis living abroad, estimated at $190 million in 1997 (Development Solutions for Africa, 1998:9), constitute an important part of the economy.
Serious imbalances in the Somali economy are observable. Since the 1960s the value of exports has covered a decreasing proportion of the value of imports, with the resulting deficit being covered by external loans and grant aid. Contemporaneously, there has been a steady decline in per capita food production, leading to increased dependence on food imports and food aid. These untoward developments, which partly reflect a weak economic base of a semi-arid country at independence (Hempstone, 1961), are manifestations of rapid population growth, pricing policies that have created disincentives among staple food crop farmers, increased proportion of irrigable land set aside for cash crops, inefficient distribution and marketing infrastructures, negative effects of war and civil upheavals (UNDP, 1998). Consequences of the economic downturn include (a) a widening gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’; (b) emergence of a small class of merchants as socially the most influential group, in contrast to an increasing proportion of the population living on the fringes of deprivation (e.g. impoverished subsistence farmers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), single-parent families particularly those headed by women, and unemployed and underemployed urban dwellers); and (c) growing dependency on external resources for the provision of basic needs such as food and social services.


One way of understanding present day Somali society is to visualise it as the product of interaction between the natural environment and a number of historical events. The most important of the latter have been (a) migration of peoples into and within Somalia; (b) cultural and economic influences from without, in particular the Middle East; (c) resistance to external invasion; and (d) difficulties in creating a modern state.
Dating back several thousand years three waves of migration into Somalia have occurred. First, Cushites from the Middle East migrated across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden into the Horn of Africa, initially settling in northern Somalia and Ethiopia and, through integration with the earlier populations, creating the ancestor communities of the present day Somali (Hiernaux, 1974). By the beginning of the 11th century A.D. these communities had expanded to the Somali plateaux and the inter-riverine regions. The southward expansion accelerated in the mid-19th century, with Somali clans crossing the Juba and occupying most of northeast Kenya. Second, Bantu-speakers - who had reached the east African coast by the 5th century A.D. - settled on the Somali lowlands as far north as Mogadishu (McIntosh, 1968; Oliver, 1966). Although the Bantu have culturally been assimilated by the Somali (e.g. with regard to religion and language), they are still physically distinguishable as a separate group. Third, resulting from trade across the Indian Ocean, by the 9th century A.D. immigrants from Arabia and Persia had settled on the east coast and helped to found city states such as Mogadishu, Brava, Merka and Kismayu (Connah, 1987). They intermixed with the Bantu and Somali to create a half-cast community, the Bajuni / Waswahili, currently an economically important urban group although forming only a small proportion of Somalia’s population.
An important aspect of contact with the Middle East was the spread and adoption of Islam. Islam spread across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden into the interior of Somalia, however, its adoption was facilitated by migrations from Arabia and Persia across the Indian Ocean to the east African coast (Trimingham, 1968). Today nearly 100% of the population is Muslim, with most subscribing to the body of doctrines that regulate the lives of those who profess Islam. This factor, together with the country-wide use of the Somali language as the mother tongue, ought to facilitate national cohesion.
To an extent, reflecting the mainly semi-arid environment that favoured nomadic pastoralism as opposed to sedentary agriculture, pre-colonial Somalia developed a decentralised political structure, organised around lineage identity. UNDP (1998:25) describes this governance mode as follows:

Radically decentralised political authority was invested in clan elders, whose principal responsibility was to negotiate disputes with other clans. For this task, the elders relied on xeer, or customary law, binding neighbouring clans into precedent-based rulings on how to address a range of grievances and disputes. Somali society also developed a blood compensation, or diya system to address and deter crime.

  • As documented in a number of studies (e.g. Lewis, 1961; Laitin and Samatar, 1987), over centuries, owing to the practice of constant migration and civil upheaval, Somali clans have sub-divided into sub-clans and have scattered such that some groups of a given lineage live in different parts of Somalia far away from the original home region. Nevertheless, clan identity (including home region) remains strong and continues to play an important role.

  • The semi-arid environment, a largely nomadic way of life, and the decentralised lineage-based mode of governance have resulted in a uncanny paradox in the political evolution of Somalia. While these socially disintegrative factors rendered Somali communities weak in the face of external invaders, they made it difficult for such invaders to conquer and effectively rule the whole area. For instance, although beginning in the latter 19th century Ethiopia and European imperial powers made military incursions into present day Somalia, they were unable to effectively rule the areas they claimed. In the post-colonial period, the disintegrative factors inherent in traditional Somali society have partly contributed to civil upheaval.


    In 1960 the two independent former colonial territories - British Somaliland in the northwest and Italian Somalia in the eastern, central and southern zones - merged to form the Republic of Somalia. In spite of attempts by the new leaders to rally the populace around the creation of a modern and developing "Greater Somalia" (incorporating territories inhabited by Somalis in neighbouring countries), the democratically elected government was weakened by the propensity among the ruling elite to organise governance largely on clan-based relationships (Markakis, 1987; Mohammed, 1999). Following a coup d’etat in 1969, Siyaad Barre took over as president but failed to address this propensity. He resorted to maintaining his position by (a) use of strong-arm tactics, including bribery and widespread abuse of human rights; and (b) encouraging disputes and tensions among other clans, while confining most appointments in key public positions and allocations of lucrative economic opportunities to members of his Darood-Marehan clan. The resulting divisions within the Somali society were exacerbated by defeat in the 1977-78 Ogaden war with Ethiopia. Increasing in tempo in the course of the 1980s opposition to the regime, taking the form of civil war, eventually led to the overthrow of Barre in January 1991. However, Somali society had been so polarised - to a large extent along lineage lines - that the overthrow of Barre was not seized upon as a starting point for establishing a more accountable Somalia-wide government.
    Civil war was inevitable in the face of (a) competition between the faction leaders (often with self-serving external support) formerly allied against Barre; (b) the tendency for Somali clans to segment into smaller units; (c) proliferation of firearms; and (d) despoiling of the machinery of government (including flight of public officers and destruction of buildings, equipment and official documents) in the course of the struggle for the overthrow of Barre (Compagnon, 1998). In May 1991 northwest Somalia declared itself to be the independent Republic of Somaliland (RS), but for the next 4 years RS suffered from fighting between factions of the dominant Isaaq clan and between them and other clans in the zone. Currently, while a measure of communal reconciliation has been achieved in RS and in the northeast zone (predominantly inhabited by the Darood-Harti clan), in the central and southern zones disunity is extant, with fighting continuing among factions of the Hawiye clan and those of other clans such as the Darood-Ogadeen, Darood-Marehan and Rahanweyn.
    Among the consequences of civil upheaval in Somalia, three stand out. First, a Somalia-wide government has ceased to exist, negating the systematic collection of public revenue in most areas. Thus there is little or no support for economic and social development from local public resources. Second, a large proportion of the Somali population has been impoverished and forced to move to new areas, either as refugees in neighbouring countries or IDPs. Some of the basic needs of refugees and IDPs are being met through resources from the international donor community, but this tends to facilitate dependency. Third, civil war has led to the creation of armed militias and bands that are a constant threat to the security of the populace. But because these armed groups rely on the gun for their livelihood, they are difficult to disarm, although this is a necessary step towards rebuilding a country-wide civilian government.


    A mixture of traditional and western-oriented practices comprises the Somali education system. Traditional practices include socialisation into the Somali way of life within the family (both immediate and extended), as well as the more formal instruction in Koranic schools. This socialisation aims at preparing youth in all aspects of life, such as economic production, the spiritual, values and attitudes - including self-reliance and mutual social responsibility within the family and clan lineage. Also inculcated is a clear division of labour in society, manifested by different codes for each sex. Males are expected to herd the family’s large livestock (mainly cattle and camels) and to be responsible for defence and security. Females undertake the household tasks necessary for the family’s welfare, as well as taking care of the family’s young and the sick, and looking after small livestock.
    Koranic schools, which date back to the foundation of Islam and are common in the Muslim world, are institutions whose function is to inculcate religious worship among children at an early age. The modus operandi is for religious men (wadaad) to get children to memorise the Holy Koran. In some cases, other disciplines necessary for developing the Muslim world-view (e.g. Arabic language) are taught. A fixed special physical setting and a heavy monetary outlay are not essential features of the Koranic school. For instance, among nomads, the teacher who is mainly paid in kind, accompanies his client community as it moves in search of pasture and water. These aspects, together with the fact that both boys and girls are equally exposed to Koranic education, have over the centuries ensured that a large proportion of the population benefits from organised education that is wholly accepted as relevant to the lives of Muslim Somalis. This largely explains why Koranic schools have continued to operate even when the modern formal education system has been seriously threatened by civil upheaval (Bennaars et al., 1996; Elmi, 1993; UNICEF-Somalia, 1998a).
    Partly because the Koranic school is readily accepted, since colonial times, its adaptation as a vehicle for the provision and delivery of modern education in Africa Muslim communities has been experimented with. Given the resource and management constraints that hinder the expansion of formal basic education in Somalia and some empirical evidence that Koranic schools can broaden their curriculum purview, there is optimism that the Koranic system could be developed to play a bigger role in expanding access to basic education (Morah and Musa, 1997; UNICEF-Somalia, 1999a). However, the realisation of this potential requires that careful attention be given to the current limitations of the Koranic school, e.g. a narrow curriculum, inadequate teacher qualifications, a loosely-organised management and resource base, and a conservative conceptualisation of education. In discussing new possibilities for the Koranic school in Somalia, Retamal and Devadoss (998:83) observe:
    As the scope of the Koranic schools is generally restricted to learning by rote certain sections of the Koran and acquiring some familiarity with Arabic, many Koranic teachers...lack the qualifications and certification needed to teach in primary schools. Second, the support given by communities to Koranic teachers is minimal and it is given for religious reasons. The extension of this support to formal education has not happened. Even if it does, it is to be noted that formal education would require more support than is given to Koranic education.
    The adaptation of the Koranic school as a basic education tool needs to take into account the deep-seated causes of ambivalence towards modern education in Muslim Africa (Bude, 1985; Burns, 1963; Hiskett, 1960; Thompson and Adloff, 1957; Touval, 1963; Trimingham, 1968). For instance, Trimingham (1968:118) points out that:
    In the context of the Muslim mind [western] culture and Christianity were associated. Christian missionaries were the pioneers of modern education in Africa, and Muslims, with their feeling for the interrelation of religion and society, naturally reacted against its introduction. Already having a system of education...they opposed its being supplemented by or substituted for an alien system, especially since this was associated or even identified with Christianity.
    While the material benefits that accrue from modern education may be welcome, it does not follow that Muslims conceptualise such education as complete preparation for life. With reference to northern Nigeria during the colonial period, Burns (1963:267) argues that the average Muslim regards Western scientific education simply as a species of craftsmanship, a knowledge extremely useful for certain purposes, and especially so for the pursuit of wealth and ambition, but in no sense connected with learning or scholarship, which are to be found in the mosque, and not in the English or American school. As implied by Morah and Musa (1997), what is needed is a new community vision of modern education as a vehicle for the development of all aspects of life as a Muslim and not an intrusion of a foreign culture.


    Modern formal education was introduced by the British and Italians. However, colonial education, geared to producing junior administrative staff, was restricted to settled population centres and had a low coverage. In 1960 independent Somalia inherited 233 primary schools and 12 secondary schools (Bennaars et al., 1996). According to UNICEF- Somalia (1998), until the early 1980s (especially under the Barre government) the education system expanded considerably. In 1980/81, 271,000 pupils were enrolled in 1,407 primary schools. A 1973-4 literacy campaign considerably reduced the level of illiteracy. According to government statistics, the secondary level enrolment grew from 9,457 in 1972/73 to 64,289 in 1983/84 (IEES, 1985). The Somali National University, Mogadishu was established and by 1981 it had 9 faculties, 490 teaching staff and an enrolment of 3,700 students (Ruhela, 1994:267).

    Contemporaneous with the deterioration in the governance system discussed in 1.5 above, a quantitative and qualitative decline of the education system set in. For instance, Table 1 and Figures a and b indicate declining numbers of primary schools and pupils between 1980 and 1990.

    The worsening status of education was caused by the general decline of the social and economic structures of the country (Retamal and Devadoss 1998:74). Particularly critical was the reduction of the proportion of the public budget allocated to education, which declined from 14% in 1961 (Hempstone, 1961:151), through 11% in the mid-1970s (UNICEF-Somalia, 1998a:8-8) to 1.5% in 1990 (Retamal and Devadoss 1998:75). Associated with increased military expenditure and a downturn in the macro-economy after 1978 (Economist Intelligent Unit, 1987), reduced public funding led to erosion of expenditure per student. Retamal and Devadoss (ibid) point out that the per primary pupil cost declined from US$27 in 1982 to $3.50 in 1990. As a result, essential supplies and services were negatively affected including access to instructional materials, construction and maintenance of school buildings, training and retention of teachers, provision of an effective management, supervision and curriculum development infrastructure. Many schools were closed, contributing to a rapid decline in enrolments, and many administrators and teachers left in search of better incentives elsewhere.

    Table 1. Primary Schools and Enrolments, 1960-1999


    Number of Schools

    Number of Pupils



    Not available






















    The fight against the Barre regime in the closing years of the 1980s decade and the outbreak of civil war in 1991 completed the breakdown of the formal education system. Many teachers and students were displaced, most school buildings were either completely or partially destroyed and all educational materials and equipment were looted. With the exception of Koranic classes, no formal education took place for at least two years (1991-92). Post-primary education was not spared: most second level institutions and the university ceased to operate.
    A revival of the education system, particularly at the primary level, was initiated in 1993 through the efforts of international donor agencies and NGOs, Somali professionals and communities. UNDP (1998:70-71) describes the revival as follows:
    Revival of educational facilities began in early 1993 when communities and teachers began re-opening schools... and former educational administrators and others created informal education committees in Mogadishu and some other regions and districts...UN agencies (UNESCO, UNHCR, UNOPS and UNICEF), donor organisations and international NGOs all took initiatives. These included the retrieving and reprinting of the existing (1980s) primary school textbooks and teachers’ guides [and organisation of] in-service training for teachers and [provision of] basic supplies for pupils and teachers...These organisations provided assistance to rehabilitate a limited number of school premises. A number of international NGOs provided material assistance, training and some degree of supervision for schools in specific, localised areas. WFP provided food incentives for teachers of registered primary schools in many areas.Revival of educational facilities began in early 1993 when communities and teachers began re-opening schools... and former educational administrators and others created informal education committees in Mogadishu and some other regions and districts...UN agencies (UNESCO, UNHCR, UNOPS and UNICEF), donor organisations and international NGOs all took initiatives. These included the retrieving and reprinting of the existing (1980s) primary school textbooks and teachers’ guides [and organisation of] in-service training for teachers and [provision of] basic supplies for pupils and teachers...These organisations provided assistance to rehabilitate a limited number of school premises. A number of international NGOs provided material assistance, training and some degree of supervision for schools in specific, localised areas. WFP provided food incentives for teachers of registered primary schools in many areas.
    The international donor community also undertook support of the education of Somali refugee children studying in neighbouring countries such as Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya and Yemen.
    Increased insecurity, which to some extent was associated with the departure of the United Nations Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM) in 1995, has some adverse impact on the revival. The departure of UNOSOM was followed by a decline in the level of external donor assistance and termination of food incentives from WFP, leading to a drop in functioning schools and enrolments. However, the international donor community continued to support education, especially with regard to curriculum development and teacher training. Since 1996 the international effort towards education has increasingly been coordinated within the framework of the Education Sectoral Committee (ESC) of the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB), which has established six working groups: curriculum renewal, professional development, learner assessment and certification, community ownership, donor mobilisation, and management information systems.
    Collaboration between the supporters of education has made inroads into establishing a common system for the whole country, however, major obstacles remain. For instance, the collapse of the state has allowed varied educational initiatives by all zones and regions, local communities, local NGOs and entrepreneurs - in some cases with external support, e.g. the Arab world. These initiatives have resulted in the establishment of institutions (varying in quality in relation to facilities, materials and human resource) offering learning at the kindergarten, primary, secondary, vocational and technical levels, and include the efforts of women’s groups to provide females with opportunities for functional literacy (Bennaars et al., 1996; Sesnan and Milas, 995; UNICEF-Somalia, 1998a and 1998b). Although these initiatives are expanding educational opportunities, some have the effect of compounding the orderly development of curricula and curriculum materials that are geared to serving the needs of the majority of the Somali people. Discordant curriculum development is illustrated by external curricula that (a) have adopted learning schedules that are different from those in use in most Somali schools; and (b) place a premium on the mastery of foreign languages (such as Arabic and English) and associated cultures, without giving adequate attention to the Somali language and the positive features of the society’s rich culture.
    To summarise, as the world community (including Somalia) converged in Jomtien in March 1990 to enunciate the EFA decade, Somalia was rapidly sinking into a deep morass - the nadir of her development. The dramatic expansion of her education system up to the early 1980s had been followed by a steady decline that accelerated into a complete collapse on the outbreak of civil war in 1991. With international donor assistance, a measure of recovery has been achieved in the education sector. However, factionalism and civil upheaval continue to be major hindrances to the evolution of a national education system. In reality, the achievement of basic EFA by year 2000 is a pipe dream for Somalia. For basic EFA to be attained, hopefully early 21st century, solutions need to be found to the four sets of problems in Box 1.



    The World Conference on Education for All (EFA), held in Jomtien, Thailand in March 1990, promulgated the World Declaration affirming national and international obligation to provide basic EFA. The Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs recommended that each country should set its own targets for the 1990s in terms of the following six dimensions:

    3.1.1 expansion of early childhood care and development activities;
    3.1.2 universal access to, and completion of, primary education by the year 2000;
    3.1.3 improvement in learning achievement such that an agreed proportion of an appropriate age cohort attains or surpasses a defined level of necessary learning achievement;
    3.1.4 reduction of the adult literacy rate to one-half of its 1990 level by the year 2000, with sufficient attention to significantly reduce the disparity between male and female illiteracy rates;
    3.1.5 expansion of provision of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults;
    3.1.6 increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living and sustainable development.


    The year 2000 assessment is a global endeavour, under the auspices of the International Consultative Forum on EFA that aims to enable the participating countries (i) to construct a comprehensive picture of their progress towards their own EFA goals since the 1990 Jomtien Conference, (ii) to identify priorities and promising strategies for overcoming obstacles and accelerating progress, and (iii) to revise their national plans of action accordingly (ICF-EFAa: 3). In addressing the three aspects of educational participation - namely access, retention and achievement - attention is expected to be given to policy-making, planning, implementation and the complementing processes of the mobilisation and utilisation of financial and other resources.


    A quantitative framework to guide the assessment, stated in the Technical Guidelines (ICF-EFAb), specify the 18 statistical indicators in Box 2. The indicators are grouped into titles and sub-titles that anticipate the assessment in part 5 of this report.



    The collapse of the Somali State has meant that the assessment could not be undertaken as laid down in the EFA General Guidelines. In the absence of a central government and a Ministry of Education, a representative National Coordination Group responsible for preparing the report through a National Assessment Coordinator and a Technical Sub-group, could not be established. Reflecting the central role played by the international donor community in the country’s education system, EFA partners on the ground under the aegis of SACB-ESC, with the assistance of an educational consultant, have undertaken the preparation of the year 2000 EFA assessment report for Somalia.


    Largely owing to insecurity and minimal or absent administrative infrastructure in many parts of Somalia, no attempt was made to collect primary data specifically for the EFA assessment. However, primary data collected for other purposes form the foundation of this report. Particularly important in this regard are the data collected by (a) UNICEF for its 1997 and 1998/99 primary school reports; and (b) Development Solutions for Africa (with financial support from EC on behalf of SACB-ESC) on cost and financing of primary education. The assessment report also draws on the wealth of reviews, studies and planning documents prepared or commissioned by international agencies involved in the socio-economic development of Somalia. Important in this regard are analyses, proposals and plans for future development by SACB-ESC, UNICEF, UNESCO-PEER, UNDOS and EC. The Mid-Decade Review of Progress Towards EFA (Bennaars et al., 996) has provided a valuable yardstick.
    Cognisance should be made of the possibility that some of the data used as the basis of the assessment report may be prone to reliability and validity problems. Pertinent to this are the following observations:

    1. Insecurity and weak administration structures in some areas may have led to under-reporting, resulting in incomplete data sets for some of the factors surveyed.
      Beginning in the pre-1991 period, deliberate concealment and/or inflation of information has been a major issue largely due to a perception by some respondents that data collection under the auspices of donors invariably influences the level of future aid.
    2. (c) The 1998/99 school survey data presents a special problem. Data from schools in the North East and North West zones was collected in November and December 1998, respectively, while, due to insecurity problems, most schools in the central and southern zones were not surveyed until April-June 1999. In terms of strict methodology, some of the data (e.g. on school enrolments and number of teachers) could be argued as belonging to different (and there incomparable) surveys.
      (d) Demographic data for Somalia is problematic. In preparing the assessment report, it was decided that, even though other agencies (e.g. UNICEF and WHO) had population data for their own purposes, the UNDOS demographic database should be used in the estimation of such EFA indicators as the primary school apparent intake rate and the gross enrolment ratio. Bearing in mind that the UNDOS database is derived from estimates, as opposed to a recent census, it is possible that the estimated numbers in the relevant age groups slightly deviate from the reality on the ground. The UNDOS database does not contain data on adult literacy and this detracts from the reporting on the relevant indicators.
      (e) The available school enrolment data does not include background information (e.g. attendance in early childhood education) or the age profile of primary school pupils. As indicated in the actual assessment below, this has precluded the estimation of the EFA indicators requiring such data.

    Contents Next Page