The Ministry of Education in Somalia has announced that the unified national examinations for grade 12 students will take place on May 27th.
The examinations will be conducted in all Federal Member States and Banaadir Region, except in Puntland, which has declined to allow its students to participate in the country-wide testing.
This exercise is an annual tradition, and this marks the ninth year these unified exams have been conducted. The exams are for students who have completed their grade 12 studies, and prior to this unified national system, umbrella organizations administered exams based on different syllabi borrowed from countries such as Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.
However, the administration of the unified national examinations has not been without some challenges. The Puntland regional government, which has declined to allow its students to participate in the exams, has cited concerns over the treatment of Puntland and the lack of cooperation from the federal government in the country’s debt relief process.
This move by Puntland regional government has drawn criticism from Prime Minister Hamze Barre this week.
Speaking in a press conference, the Prime Minister called Puntland’s decision “tantamount to derailing the development of the country and the debt relief process,” and expressed his disappointment about the government’s isolationist posture.
The Prime Minister’s comments underscore the broader challenges in Somalia’s education system. The country has made progress in the past decade, but there are still significant gaps in access to education, particularly for girls and in rural areas. The country also faces ongoing challenges with terrorism and conflict, which disrupts schooling and creates instability.
Nevertheless, the unified national exams are an important step towards greater coherence and standardization in Somalia’s national education system.