The level of education in Djibouti is generally low. About one in four residents are illiterate and half of the children do not complete primary school.
Djibouti’s school system is built on a French model. Elementary school starts at the age of six. After a formal mandatory six-year low-level phase, two voluntary supplementary stages of four and three years respectively follow. The latter corresponds to high school.
In reality, in 2019, only two out of three children in the relevant age group started in primary school and many dropped out before completing all six years. Just over one in three students started the secondary education phase.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Djibouti, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
It is mainly girls and children in the countryside and among the nomadic population who do not receive education. An important reason for this is that the children in these groups usually have to help with the family’s livelihood.
The elementary school is free of charge, but the families usually have to pay for textbooks, trips to and from school and more. This means poor families cannot afford to let their children go to school.
School buildings are usually in miserable condition and the quality of teaching is low. All teaching takes place in French even though the children usually speak Somali or Afaric. It is often the case that teachers strike for higher salaries.
In addition to the state school, there are several mission schools.
Djibouti’s first university was founded in 2006. Previously, anyone who wanted to study at a higher level had to apply abroad, especially to France.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
55.1 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
12.3 percent (2010)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
12.3 percent (2010)
Boycott of Parliament blown off
After 18 months of negotiations, the government and the opposition alliance USN agree that the opposition will take its seats in the parliament which it boycotted since the 2013 elections. The USN has refused to participate in Parliament’s work following allegations against the government on election fraud. The election results were appealed but rejected by a court. The agreement also includes the creation of a new, independent electoral commission.
US warns of new terrorist attacks
The United States warns of “specific terrorist threats” against Western targets in Djibouti, both military and civilian.
The UN is again warning about the drought
The UN warns again of the consequences of the severe drought. Nearly a quarter of the population is now in need of relief. Among the vulnerable groups are over 27,000 refugees, most of them from Somalia, and 60,000 migrants from Ethiopia (who plan to move on to the countries around the Persian Gulf). The crisis has been going on since 2010, but the UN has had a hard time persuading the outside world to assist those affected.
Suicide attack against restaurant
Two suicide bombers strike a restaurant in the capital Djibouti. The restaurant is popular with Western visitors. The suicide bombers take at least one person with them to death while 15 people are injured, including Frenchmen, Dutchmen and Spaniards. The Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabaab takes on the blame for the act. The motive is suspected to be that Djibouti participates in the AU force helping the government of Somalia to fight al-Shabaab.