Analysis of the University ‘Foundation Year’ Directive: Substance, Concerns, Consequences, and Policy Considerations

Governance Briefs

Considering the persistent challenges underlying the quality of higher education in Somalia, the FGS Ministry of Education, Culture, and Higher Education proclaimed, on 16 August 2023, a directive authorizing the introduction of a ‘foundation year’ that would precede the university undergraduate first year and will take effect in this academic year 2023/2024. The directive was issued at a sensitive time when the start of the new academic year was only a few days away. This governance brief analyses the concerns and criticisms related to the directive, and explores the potential consequences it could have on students, parents, and universities. The brief also looks at the possible positive outcomes that the new instruction could have for students and universities. The brief concludes with policy recommendations that include, among others, that the Ministry put in place the necessary bureaucratic mechanisms to address the higher education quality, including a separate higher education law, and an effective national higher education commission, which remains transitional and inactive; the Ministry of Education needs to base its decision on legislation that provides such conditions to guarantee its universal application.

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