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Sep 24, 2020

Mass exam failure stirs up a storm in Somalia

Over 90 percent of secondary school candidates in Benadir, the metropolitan region that includes Mogadishu, failed the national exam. Questioned over the mass failure in Mogadishu, Education Minister Goddah Barre blamed students and teachers.

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Aug 10, 2020

Somaliland and Taiwan sign deals for improved higher education

Somaliland and Taiwan have moved in speed to normalize partnership in higher education, a move which would help Hargeisa put systems in place in a bid to revolutionize its education.

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The Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya (Federal Republic of Somalia) is located in eastern Africa and is bordered by Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean. The population is 9,832,017 and the literacy rate is 37.8%. Somali is the official language, but Arabic, Italian and English are also spoken. Before the civil war, English and Italian were the languages of instruction at the National University of Somalia.

Human inhabitation of present-day Somalia can be traced back 2500 years. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, many city-states and sultanates were formed in the area. In 1886, clans in the northern region signed a treaty with England and the area became a protectorate known as British Somaliland. In 1925, the southern area became an Italian colony known as Italian Somaliland.

On June 26, 1960, British Somaliland was granted independence, and Italian Somaliland was granted independence 5 days later. On July 1, 1960, the two, newly-independent countries joined together to form the Republic of Somalia.

In 1991, a civil war began that destroyed most schools and almost all education ended. Most schools are now private, except in Puntland (an autonomous state) and Somaliland (which has declared independence from the Republic of Somalia and is not recognized by any foreign government), which have opened public primary schools and teachers are paid by the state.


Due to the civil war, all educational records were destroyed, so students who were educated before 1991 until recently will not be able to request copies of records from their institutions in Somalia.

Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 14, but attendance is not enforced. Somali is the language of instruction. Although Somali is an ancient language, a script for it, based on Latin characters, was not developed until 1972.

Primary Education

Dugsi hoose (primary school) is 4 years beginning at age 6. Upon completion, students are awarded a Shahaadada Dugsiga Hoose.Dugsi dhexe (intermediate school) is 4 years and leads to the Shahaadada Dugsiga Dhexe.

Secondary Education

Vocational secondary school is 2 years. No credential is awarded upon completion.

Dugsi sare (general secondary school) and technical secondary school are 4 years. At the end of the 4th year, students sit for an external examination leading to the Shahaadada Dugsiga Sare. Students in Somaliland are awarded a Somaliland Secondary School Leaving Certificate.

Following completion of secondary school, students must complete 2 years of National Service, which can include teaching at the primary school level.

Post-Secondary Education

Since 1998, many private, post-secondary institutions have opened in Somalia. There are no public universities. Admission to post-secondary institutions requires a Shahaadada Dugsiga Sare (Secondary School Leaving Certificate), completion of National Service, and sufficient scores on an entrance examination. Institutions in Somaliland require a Somaliland Secondary School Leaving Certificate and sufficient scores on an entrance examination.

First Cycle

Because there is no national body coordinating post-secondary education, there is no standard period of study for first-cycle credentials. They range from 2-4 years, depending on the institution.

Second Cycle

The only graduate programs in Somalia are offered at Mogadishu University in conjunction with Omdurman Islamic University in Sudan. While the programs are taught at Mogadishu University, Omdurman Islamic University is responsible for admission, setting the curriculum and providing the teaching staff, and issues the diplomas.

Teacher Training

Primary school teachers are trained in a one-year program leading to the Primary School Teacher Diploma. A Shahaadada Dugsiga Sare and completion of National Service are required for admission.

Secondary school teachers are trained in a three-year at a teacher training college leading to the Secondary School Teacher Diploma. A Shahaadada Dugsiga Sare and completion of National Service are required for admission.



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