Education Overview in Djibouti

Djibouti is a small and resource-poor country of 23,200 square kilometers. The population is estimated at about 800,000, of which 87% live in urban areas. A poor pastoral and largely nomadic population sparsely occupies the hinterland, an extension of the deserts of Ethiopia and Somalia. Djibouti's population is young. About 40% of population is under age 15, and only 15% is over age 40. According to UNDP, Djibouti ranks 149th in Human Development Index in 1992.

Djibouti's education system is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) although Djibouti has expanded its access to education. In Djibouti, illiteracy is an especially severe problem. About 70% of the total population and 85% of women are not literate. There are also large inequalities in access to education in terms of regions, gender and income levels. Moreover, the education system in Djibouti is very costly due to high unit costs for school construction, learning and teaching materials, and teacher salaries. By this high-cost structure, the achievements of the education-related MDGs are uncertain. Moreover, pressures on the education system will intensify because of steady demographic growth (population growth rate is estimated at 2.4%) and increased demand for quality of education.

Since the Medium-term Plan 2000 - 2005 and the New Education Law were implemented, Djibouti has achieved significant progresses at all levels of education as they have internally and externally mobilized the resources for the financing of construction, equipment purchases, and teacher recruitment.