Secondary Public Schools
Primary Education is the largest sector within the MOES structure. The enrolment numbers are the higher than in any other subsector. Thanks to the introduction of free primary education by Presidential Decree in 2011 there was a significant increase in enrolment, especially in Grade 1, though not as great as one might have expected when looking at the impact of free primary education in neighbouring countries.
Secondary education in Somaliland spans four years, from Form 1 to 4, and is divided into junior secondary (Forms 1 to 2) and senior secondary (Forms 3 and 4). Entrance to secondary education is, in theory, determined by the centrally administered standardized examinations at the end of class 8 (the last year of primary education).
The MOES National Policy of Education (2015) targeted a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 50% by 2016. In fact, as of 2015, the GER was only 21.3% (boys 25%, girls 17%) and the Net Enrolment Rate (NER), was 10.5% (boys 11.6%, girls 9%) for the same period.
Whilst explicit data describing the age range of enrolled secondary students was not available, the difference between NER and GER shows that approximately 50% of students are not within the appropriate age group of 14 to 17 years. The real entry age for secondary education varies due to access limitations, such as cost of education, in addition to late completion of primary school resulting in a high proportion of secondary students being over-age.
Just over half (55.6%) of the secondary school students are enrolled in government- owned schools. Private schools therefore have a significant share of students in the secondary sector. This correlates with the regional distribution of private secondary schools, most of which are in urban areas where economic conditions are better and families can afford higher school costs. Private schools also have better gender ratios, with 43.1% of students in private schools being girls in contrast to only 35.3% in government-run schools. This difference also springs from the reality that public secondary schools are situated in more disadvantaged regions that experience greater social barriers to girl’s participation in education.
In this subsector, as elsewhere, teachers give private classes for students at a cost, giving an advantage to those students who can afford it and benefiting teachers who are paid by parents. This practice raises issues of equity (and perhaps the effectiveness of those teachers in their ‘normal’ classes). However, this practice also keeps the best teachers within the government system as it ensures that they earn a reasonable income and are thus less inclined to move entirely to private schools.