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Somali born immigrants are less educated than other African born immigrants in the US, according to a US Census Bureau report

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(Somalia Online ) -  According to a US Census Bureau report obtained by Somalia Online, Somali born immigrants living in the US are less educated than other African immigrants in the US.


The percentage of Somali born immigrants in the US with less than high school education is nearly 40% of the total Somali born. Somali immigrants in the US also have the lowest percentage of bachelors degree among other Africans, according to the survey.




“Compared with the overall foreign-born population, the foreign born from Africa had higher levels of educational attainment (Figure 6). High levels of educational attain­ment among the African born are in part due to the large number of educated Africans who have chosen to emigrate and to many who come to the United States to pursue academic studies” the report said.


The report titled "The Foreign-Born Population From Africa: 2008–2012" put the total Somali population in the US at 76,000, with the majority of them arriving in the United States as refugees/asylum seekers and not as diversity migrants.


“Of the 1.6 million foreign born from Africa in the United States, 36 percent were from Western Africa, 29 percent were from Eastern Africa, and 17 percent were from Northern Africa, followed by Southern Africa (5 percent), Middle Africa (5 per¬cent), and other Africa (7 percent)” the report said.


You can read the full report here.


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Somalia Online

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This shouldn't be surprising. Somalis didn't enter the United States as immigrants.....we entered the country as refugees. We had a lot of unemployed and unskilled Somali refugees entering the USA in the 1990's and trying to find work in factories, driving taxis, and cleaning buildings. So of course we are uneducated compared to African migrants.


Most African immigrants in the USA are skilled professionals (doctors, engineers, business professionals, etc.), which is how they were even allowed to enter the USA in the first place. They were given a green card and were allowed to migrate to the USA from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, etc.


The USA has a system where only the best and brightest can settle in the country. All others are left behind. But we Somalis were the exception and we were allowed to live in this country with absolutely NO SKILLS and NO EDUCATION. It was a peculiar exception that benefited us.


But it isn't fair to compare African immigrants to Somali refugees. You're comparing apples and oranges here.

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education system in somali

Primary Education

Education opportunities in Somalia are limited outside major urban areas and gender representation among both educators and students remains skewed. Schools are regularly semi-financed by parents too, and that makes it even harder for a poor child to enter the school system.


The 4 years of primary education feature 9 compulsory subjects taught in Somali. From grade 2, English is a second language subject.


Middle Education

A 4 year middle school phase follows. Subjects on the curriculum prescribed by the ministry of education include Somali, Islamic studies, English, maths, science, social studies, geography and history.


Secondary Education

The final phase in Somali school education comprises 4 years too. A similar spread of academic subjects continues and there is no option of a vocational stream. It is as if poorer children in rural areas almost have no place in their school system.


Vocational Education

In the non-formal education sector unemployed adults and young people may receive adult literacy and vocational skills training. The government effort is supplemented by international aid initiatives and commercial enterprise.


Tertiary Education

Somalia EducationThere are two forms of tertiary education. One is aimed at school dropouts and helps them to become useful employed citizens. The other is the traditional university model that is offered at several universities and polytechnics.



The leading institution is generally thought to be Amoud University in Borama shown here. There, 1,700 students who made it through an often-unfair school system have a choice of 9 faculties in which to study.



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