Case study on the utilization of the INEE minimum standards in Somaliland/North West Somalia

from Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies
Published on 05 May 2009 View Original
Case study author: Silje Sjoevaag Skeie, former Education Manager NRC Somaliland

Organisation: Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

Location: Somaliland/ North West Somalia

Date of programme: Autumn 2005

Case Study Themes: Code of Conduct (CoC); Alternative Approach to Basic Education - (AABE); Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) for out of school children; Gender

All referenced materials are available online:

They can also be found in the INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit (; to request a free copy contact:

INEE Members may contact Silje with reference to this Case Study:


Education in Somaliland

The education system in Somaliland (North West Somalia/self-declared Republic of Somaliland) has historically been weak and deteriorated further during the civil war which started in 1991. With a low enrolment rate, poor attendance and low completion rates, few Somaliland children are accessing their right to basic education. For the academic year of 2005/2006, the gross enrolment rate in primary education was 37%(1). Enrolment is notably low in the rural areas among vulnerable groups, in particular displaced girls. Early marriages, parents' negative attitude towards girls' education, and high prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) among eight to ten year-olds, prevent girls' school attendance. In addition, schools are often not equipped to meet the specific needs of girls, which forces them to stay at home. For instance, schools often lack gender-segregated latrines and sufficient provision of water. Corporal punishment and physical abuse is adding to girls' barriers to education. Due to lack of proper teacher training, the quality of teaching is poor. Only 28% of primary teachers hold certification as teachers and education personnel is often given teaching tasks on the basis of their position in the village. Moreover, organisations working on education in Somaliland report that there is also a tendency among male teachers to neglect girl pupils. Only 11.9% of teachers are female(2), which further discourages girls' enrolment as they have no role models at school. Finally, lack of understanding of human rights issues among the teachers is reported to negatively affect the level of child protection, girls' enrolment and the ability to impart quality education.(3)

NRC's Education Project

In the fall of 2005, the Norwegian Refugee Council's (NRC) initiated an education programme targeting both educators and students. In this programme, NRC's main support to the education sector in Somaliland was provided through an integrated approach targeting learners and teachers while building the capacity of education authorities to ensure sustainability. NRC runs a variety of Non Formal Education (NFE) projects:

- Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) for out of school children age 10-14 as part of an Alternative Approach to Basic Education (AABE)

- Skills training for youth (Youth Education Pack)

- Numeracy/Literacy training for adults

- School for refugees to Somaliland

- Construction/rehabilitation of school infrastructure

- Capacity building of education authorities, teachers and other education personnel

Through AABE, displaced children age 10-14 follow a 3-year condensed education programme enabling them to enter upper primary school. NRC has an expressed gender policy stating that 50% of the learners are to be girls and at least 40% of the teachers are to be female. NRC counts around 150 AABE teachers teaching learners in Level 1 - 3. To enhance quality education, NRC provides capacity building opportunities to teachers, Community Education Committees (CEC), and Ministry of Education (MoE) officials at national and regional levels. All teachers teaching in the AABE program have undergone training on participatory learning, child-friendly environment and non-discrimination. AABE classes are held in formal schools, and the teachers report to the head masters and are monitored by the local CEC and regional inspectors. NRC also monitors AABE teachers and classes regularly through its own education team.