Improving non-formal education, literacy and skills for life for Somalia: Kenya Study Tour

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A young participant reflects on the study tour with one of the presenters. Credit: UN Photo.

UNESCO, in collaboration with the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), organized a five day study tour in Kenya for nine Ministry of Education officials from the Federal Government of Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland. Study tour was funded under the project “Skills for Life: Improving the Literacy Levels and Life Skills among Youth and Women” by the Al Maktoum Foundation.

The objective of the study tour was to share experiences and best practices among educational practitioners on literacy and life skills initiatives by engaging in policy discussions amongst Kenya MoEST, KNATCOM and Somali officials facilitated by UNESCO, and visiting relevant institutions, training centers and schools. 

As part of the efforts to share experiences about the legislative framework on non-formal education in Kenya, MoEST and KNATCOM presented variety of policy legislations, such as on the national adult and continuing education policies and the policy and curriculum for alternative provision of basic education and training. Additionally, participants were also given guidance to how the division of responsibilities and governance were set up in the field of education. The visits to MoEST, and in particular the Department of Adult Education, the Nairobi County Government and the Mombasa Education Office provided Somali delegates with valuable insights about roles and responsibilities at national and county level, as well as suggestions on how to involve local partners in the support of the literacy programme.

The tour also included a number of visits to schools and training institutes with an aim to link policies with practical implications of literacy and life skills programmes, and to study its governance structures. Somali delegates visited St. Peter’s Adult Education Centre in Nairobi, to learn about the provision of adult literacy classes in the urban context. At Karen Special School, the delegates were introduced to the provision of technical and vocational training to pupils with hearing impairments. When the tour moved to Mombasa, participants could witness the different modalities of delivery of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Kenya, by visiting both Mombasa Technical Training Institute, one of the largest formal schools on TVET, and Kisauni Youth Polytechnic, an institute where training ranges from non-formal training to middle level power training. Finally, the visit to Bombolulu Adult Literacy Centre and Futa Kaka Adult and Continuing Education Centre showed how beginners and advanced literacy programmes can be associated with some training skills that can support income generating activities.

The study tour provided an invaluable opportunity for Ministry of Education officials from the Federal Government of Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland, not only to learn from the Kenyan experience but also to engage in constructive discussions with their counterparts. As participants reflected on which best practices could serve as an inspiration, it is certain that they returned to their respective Ministries to further strengthen their commitment towards the improvement of provision of non-formal education, literacy and skills for life for Somalia.