Education is now globally recognized as one of the most potent instruments for nation building and social reconstruction. It is with this realization in mind that Puntland is in the process of developing an educational policy to guide the state's education process. As the state embarks on the path of reconstruction and economic development after years of civil war, enhancing the provision of education and literacy is considered a basic building block for development, particularly in terms assuring quantity, quality and relevance. Such a critical enterprise calls for clear guidelines and coordination. The education sector therefore requires a long-term development vision that establishes a clear set of policy priorities and defines the relevant sectoral directions and reforms.
A second set of justifications relate to gender and equity concerns. Women, minorities and vulnerable groups have not received adequate educational provisions in Puntland. A gender sensitive national education policy, which aligns with global standards such as those outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), is therefore needed as the region embarks on systematic human resource development and social transformation. Such an education policy would ultimately lead to the elimination of other discriminatory practices against women, which emanate from the wider society but rebound in schools. Similarly, the policy must be sensitive and respond to the rights and needs of minorities and other vulnerable groups.
Finally, the war and its aftermath have created the following problems: limited and unequal access to education, skewed heavily against the rural poor and girls; poor quality of educational provisions; an unresponsive school curriculum; absence of standards and controls; inadequate management and planning capacity; a weak financial base; and the existence of numerous and poorly coordinated educational provisions. A policy framework is therefore required to help the state address these constraints. It is only when such a policy is in place – and is based on the pillars of functionality and relevance – that education can realistically contribute to the attainment of national goals and objectives.