Opportunities and Challenges of Higher Education in Puntland

Opportunities and Challenges of Higher Education in Puntland


Opportunities and Challenges of Higher Education in


Puntland State of Somalia is a region in northeastern Somalia. Centered on the town of Garowe in the Nugal province, its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998 but is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia, Puntland is bordered by Somaliland to its west, the Gulf of Aden in the north, the Guardaful Channel in the northeast, the Somali Sea in the southeast, the central Galmudug region in the south, and Ethiopia in the southwest, it’s population 2016 estimated 4,285,000 million.

This article analyses the opportunities and challenges of higher education in Puntland Somalia, The paper argues that quality of education, work forces such as lectures, leadership styles and management, resources available at universities these includes curriculum, materials and method of recruitment, appointment and promotion of academic staff.

According to (Prof. Hassan Osman, 2017) the higher education sector in Africa faces challenges related to critical shortage of quality faculty, limited capacity of governance, leadership and management, inadequate financial support and problems of diversify funding, inadequate facilities and infrastructures, problems of quality and relevance of teaching and research, limited capacity of research, knowledge generation and adaptation capabilities, and problems in meeting increasing demand for equitable access, however, higher education is critical to economic success and long- term development of Africa, a continent facing several challenges of growth and development on many fronts.

Higher education provides economic and social benefits, both to the individual and the public, produces qualified human capital, adapts and generates knowledge, promotes international cooperation and improves competitiveness in the global knowledge based economy (Yizengaw, 2008).


The civil war and the subsequent collapse of the Somali state completely destroyed the education infrastructure of the country. Nevertheless, significant progress has since been made in the reconstruction of education infrastructure throughout South-Central, Puntland, and Somaliland. The prolonged period of instability in South-Central hampered reconstruction but it did not stop the efforts of various actors in rebuilding the sector in certain locations. Local communities, Islamic NGOs, and the Somali diaspora have been vital in the rehabilitation of higher education institutes (HEIs). Furthermore, education umbrella organizations such as the Formal Private Education Network in Somalia (FPENS) have been key to the reconstruction and management of the primary and secondary education sectors (TFG Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education Report, 2011). According to Hoehne, by 2010 a dozen universities funded and maintained (Regions, 2013).

According to (Mohamed, Uthman, & Affan, 2012) Government era Somalia has only one university and it was Somali National University (SNU) and no longer now because of the civil war erupted in 1991 in the country. SNU had 12 faculties (Education, Languages, Law, Economics, Political Science, Journalism, Geology, Industrial chemistry, Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture, and Veterinary). Medium of instruction was English and Italy. There were international lecturers as well as international students at the university. George (1985) reported, Somali National University each year an average of 700 students was graduating. University workforce was equivalent to students, ILO (1987) stated SNU has 445 full time and 170 part time teaching lectures meanwhile staff student ratio was 11:1.

The paper observes several challenges that face Puntland State Universities Somalia today these includes quality of lectures, policy of education, policy of recruitment, educational equipment, funding, infrastructural demands, inadequate staff remuneration, high student enrollment with low staff-student ratio, and privatization of institutions.

In spite of appearance of these challenges, it is possible to identify and implement strategic involvements to acknowledge and develop quality of education and reach to an optimum level with improving performance of universities and enhance quality of education.


In Puntland State Somalia today faces a multiple of development challenges going from policy design to implementation, monitoring and assessment of the outcomes in relation to resources invested and service delivery in the field of higher education.

Government investment in Universities is limit and most universities are private which owned by individuals and yet research is critical for understanding and designing appropriate policies and legislations for responding to the existing challenges since universities are private.

However, peace, political and economic stability and Struggling to rebuild the infrastructure and life was started after years of civil war with Somalia, in Puntland universities establish by the religious elders, traditional elders, key intellectuals and business mans and diasporas.

However, Currently eight universities and its branches operates in Puntland State Somalia, and they offer different faculties, although significant challenges remain, higher education is growing as each year thousands of students graduated secondary schools and enrolls some of them to the local universities in Puntland State Somalia.

The first university in Puntland State Somalia was established 1999 by Puntland intellectuals these includes educated persons, religious elders, business man, traditional elders and other parts of society, East Africa University is a private university in the autonomous Puntland state in northeastern Somalia. Founded in the commercial capital of Bosaso, it now has additional branches in Buhodle, Erigavo, Galdogob, Galkayo, Garowe and Qardho. The services that university provide based on class-rooms and distance learning, starting from 2013 east Africa university Bosaso campus focus on business and social science while by Galkio branch focus on computer science and engineering in addition to the health science.

East Africa University Puntland State Somalia has received a lot of opportunities since it was the first university in the State, it enrolls the most students and graduates also biggest number of students in the region, it’s also get investment from different stakeholders such as diaspora, international organizations (INGOs), business man and others. Moreover, it faced a lot of obstacles and challenges as World Bank (2007) reported quality challenges of African universities are mainly shortage of man power. However, Concern world (2006) reported, Somalia there is


shortage of teachers and students do not have qualified and trained teachers and this reflected ratio of the teachers and students.

University world new page published Jan 2018 at article which indicated “Higher education challenges and solutions for 2018” Arab universities, which Somalia Is a member , as reflections of their broader cultures and societies, are suffering from a “knowledge deficit”. Nations with sovereign wealth, as well as several others, are rushing to import Western educational systems, or outsource programs to foreign universities under the guise of “partnerships”, to make up for the Arab world’s long negligence of h igher education and promoting a culture of reading, research, innovation, the arts, etc. Consequently, Arab societies are paying the price.

Arab decision-makers should make universities autonomous, give them an initial budget based on a strategic plan, and determine in the next funding cycle whether a university has met its goals. Building a strong university system cannot take place in a social vacuum, though. So the Arab states must invest in a culture of reading and research, museum-going and the arts.

Abdalla (2016) east Africa university staff, the method of teaching was based on traditional system since we had struggling to re-construct the entire destroyed system after civil war, therefore the effect of that system still remain and we still struggle such as recruitment policy, leadership and management style which remain the hands of group of people which struggled to established this university. Though the system developed but still problems of quality and relevance of teaching, materials, recruitment policy, leadership style, performance and management occur.

Former administrative staff of east Africa university Bosaso campus Somalia (2017), nevertheless university done improvement in some areas but 67% of staff not meet their objective settings and this may cause the circumstance that university working in. student registrations is increasing and number of employees of the university can’t suspension because of limit fund and massive expenses of the university which not allowed to recruit more staff.

According to Shafie Sharif Mohamed (2012), when Somali students graduate from African or Asian universities soon they went back home country and some of them lead companies, government ministries, while high percentage are managing universities and institutes. This returnee graduates require high payment since they have higher qualifications.


Therefore, East Africa University Puntland State Somalia struggle to minimize the costs so they can afford to pay to ensure getting reliable education system which young generation and all eager/thirst of education can access good quality education instead of going to overseas and foreign countries.

Maximum number of the universities in Puntland State Somalia have been constructed with support of local people, diaspora and its communities and little supports form national organizations (NGOSs), and international organizations (INGOs). Though the higher education system of Puntland state Somalia improving but still remain countless challenges and obstacles which universities suffering on it, such as shortage of man power, limit resources and funding limitations.

Mostly, Puntland state universities includes east Africa university offers students a variety of services and trainings, and have the basic requirements in place for teaching and learning, although capacity and quality are sometimes low. For instant universities offer students free services such as an internet and library access, libraries are challenging various problems such as small spaces, suitable seats, and insufficient archives and short of books which help students to get references and other necessary requirement and needs of the students to improve their journal of education.

However, east state university in Puntland state Somalia, established as the response to fill the importance of higher education to train the youth in order to participate in the development of their region as well as country.

Somali youth associations (SYA), 2017



BANK, T. I. (2000). Higher Education in Developing Countries.

Prof. Hassan Osman Ga’al, PhD (2017), Journal of Education and Practice.

Shafie Sharif Mohamed (2012) Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review Vol. 1, No.12; Aug 2012

The heritage institute June (2013), the state of higher education in Somalia, south-central, Somaliland and Puntland regions.

East Africa University website


AL-Qaeda linked Somalia’s al-shabaab group said on Wednesday that two bodies in white skins have been found on the shore near the port city of Merca or Marka in the Lower Shabelle region but offered no further details.

Residents living in the small seaside village Gandershe have also confirmed the news that suspected dead western couples possibly—– tourists washed up from the sea late Tuesday.
“We do not know how these people are dead but their bodies had physical harms” said one resident Ahmed Sheikh.
Al-shabaab members in the region and residents later buried the two bodies outside the village, residents said.  Unconfirmed reports by some local media said that one of the couples—the woman had pieces of jewelry in her neck.
“The first of its kind in the village” another resident claims. Nationalities of the dead suspected couple are yet unknown but al-shabaab said they could be Western tourists.
Senior Somali government official in the Lower Shabelle region who asked to be unnamed confirmed the news about two bodies found on the shore but denied to provide further details.
“The deceased individuals on the beach is a male and female adult with an apparent no gunshot wounds, according to residents” said the official. “We will release as soon as we have more information on this case”
The Bodies have reportedly been in their 45s
By Mohamed Odowa