Abaarso School is a high-quality, secondary boarding school designed to prepare students in Somalia to later pursue a university education. Students sit for a free entrance exam that covers math, English, logic, and reasoning and are admitted to the school based purely on academic achievement. The school's population is socio-economically diverse, comprised of some students who can afford full tuition, while the vast majority may receive scholarships or loans to cover some or all of the cost of attending. Abaarso school recently began a pilot program in partnership with Kiva to provide students with no-interest loans.
The curriculum is rigorous, with a strong emphasis placed on English language acquisition and the math and sciences. Abaarso School also places immense value in the development of the whole child, focusing on integrity, tenacity, and reasoning. Outside of the classroom, students participate in a number of extracurricular activities, including playing on school sports teams and tutoring in the local community. Through the school's community service program, students are required to spend a minimum of 4 hours each week doing community service such as tutoring children in the local village or orphanage. This year, 5 children from the orphanage and local village were accepted into the school's 7th grade.
Abaarso School is entirely run by volunteers and graduated its first class in July 2013.
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CEI approaches in actionDeliveryStand-alone school/centerFinancingStudent supportEthics & Values/ReligionMath/numeracyLiteracyEnglish languageLocal language/Mother tongue languageScience & engineering21st century skills (soft skills)Information and Communications Technology (ICT)Sports
Model details2009Not-for-profitComprehensive curriculumEthics & Values/ReligionMath/numeracyLiteracyEnglish languageLocal language/Mother tongue languageScience & engineering21st century skills (soft skills)Information and Communications Technology (ICT)SportsActiveLong-term projectHousehold funds20065%35%
Since Abaarso School opened in 2009 with its first class of 45 9th grade students, the school has added a new class every year and recently expanded to include the 7th grade.
Abaarso School intends to reach full capacity in the next 3 years, and is also aiming to expand its tutoring program for village students and children at the local orphanage.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
The school annually monitors students' performance on standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, and their English reading levels. Program staff additionally focus on cost effectiveness and the efficiency of the school's operations.Standardized assessment performanceGraduation or promotion ratesTeacher attendanceStudent attendanceTeacher retentionStudent retentionCost effectiveness/value for moneyYes
- Graduates placed: 21 out of 31 graduates are now placed at university on full scholarship (expecting more soon)
- Students in the US: 19 students are currently studying in the US (and are the first to do so from their country in decades)
- Scholarships: over $3 million in academic scholarships awarded to Abaarso students by the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year
- School efficiency: each student costs the school only $1,800/year
- Community service: The Abaarso School will produce over 25,700 community-service hours this year (from only 165 students)
- Community service: Abaarso's free tutoring programs will serve over 200 Somali students