The research explored the educational and broader social impacts of COVID-19 control measures and efforts to compensate for those measures in the education sector (e.g. by online teaching) in Somalia/Somaliland. It did so through 131 interviews and four focus group discussions with forty government educational officials, educators and the public with a wide range of educational experiences, including no education ever. Positive views of the general availability and quality of education were based on comparisons with the past period of civil war and state collapse. Nearly all participants agreed that education had been harmed severely by COVID-19 control measures. They also tended to agree the educational inequalities that disadvantaged girls, the poor and rural populations had been exacerbated by COVID-19 control measures and by education provision to compensate for educational institution closures. Building back better in education as a response to COVID-19 is not happening when looked at overall, as even the positive efforts, while laudable in themselves, are exacerbating inequalities. The findings were similar for both locations. The research highlights the need and potential support for a more inclusive approach to responding to COVID-19 in the education sector.