Promoting access to quality, safe, and relevant education for all persons affected by crisis

Case Study: Absent curriculum from Somalia’s schools for more than two decades

19 July 2013

by Abdikadir Issa Farah, Program Officer at Formal Education Network for Private Schools (FENPS).


Somalia has been without functional government for over twenty years. All infrastructures and units for public services collapsed that made living conditions very critical. Although education unit had never ceased but it has gone without a unified national syllabus to guide primary and secondary school instructors.
Community members and educated persons established schools under the anarchy and the context of violence existed in the country.

These intellectual members started this valuable job from zero and their endeavors brought many children to survive from anarchy and learn in protective and quality schools without government support. Somali Education Umbrellas were the cornerstone of those efforts of continuing education after the fall of the Mohamed Siad Barre regime in 1991. Since these efforts were conducted independently by different well-wishers and generous educated persons, it became necessary to unite these worthy attempts to reach common goal of improving Somali education.

Fortunately, Somali Federal government came to power in August 2012 and its Directorate of Education showed that they will cover the gap and that they will do their best to bring curriculum that promotes common national values. Furthermore, education umbrellas representing 1,130 private schools across Somalia has printed a unified syllabus contents that will serve as a plan for standardizing primary and secondary instruction at all schools in Somalia.
These education umbrellas comprise seven organizations and they are:

1. Formal Private Education Network in Somalia (FPENS),
2. School Organization for Formal Education (SOFE),
3. Somali Formal Education Network (SOFEN),
4. Somali Formal Education Link (SOFEL),
5. Schools Association for Formal Education (SAFE),
6. Formal Education Network for Private Schools (FENPS) and
7. Somali Education Development Association (SEDA)

The education umbrellas set this unified syllabus because schools managed by each of the seven organizations followed a different curriculum and term schedule and were turning out students with varying education levels.
Then, education umbrellas handed the new syllabus to the Directorate of Education to include or exclude and approve for use.
Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Abdirahman at FENPS narrates how he sees appropriate syllabus for Somali students: “ The values I cherish most include: honesty, human worth and dignity rule of low, justice, respect for rights of others, truth, knowledge, loyalty, personal integrity, respect and consideration for others responsibility, equality of opportunities, order, self-discipline, kindness, pietyand righteousness”. He also counts would be stated in curriculum/ syllabus at primary and secondary level and says:

Primary Level

To help the pupil:

  •  Acquire permanent literacy and numeracy
  •  Acquire scientific and reflective thinking
  •  Acquire to solve personal and social problems
  •  Appreciate his/her role as a citizen in his/her country
  •  Develop ethical character
  •  Be adaptable to a changing society
  •  Develop vocational skills and manipulative ability
  •  Appreciate his/her cultural heritage
  •  Develop creative and innovative skills
  •  Appreciate the dignity of labor
  •  Develop language skills-communication

Secondary level
To help the student:

  •  Prepare himself/herself for change
  •  Prepare himself/herself for the working world
  •  Equip himself/herself with the skills needed for seeking further knowledge for himself/herself
  •  Use his/her critical faculties through training
  •  Equip himself/herself with the necessary skills for modern living
  •  Aim at developing his/her potential abilities
  •  Become a fully integrated member of his/her community
  •  See the values of the past in relation to the present and future
  •  Seek to preserve and transmit the cultural heritage of his/her society
  •  Understand the structure and function of the country’s political system
  •  Recognize and understand the need for and importance of interdependence of people and nations
  •  Be articulate/express himself/herself clearly both in writing as well as in speaking
  •  Be morally upright

Related Questions:
1. What would you advise new Somali Federal Government to issue high quality standardized curriculum/syllabus?
2. What would you recommend to education umbrellas?
3. What experts and capacities do you think are needed to issue a curriculum/syllabus for a country which has gone without syllabus for more than two decades?
4. What curriculum/syllabus do you think is suitable for a war and conflict ravaged country like Somalia?
Send your comments and suggestions to