Education in Eritrea

In the Education Sector Development Plan 2013-2017 the government of Eritrea recognizes the importance of education and training “for the future prosperity of the country and its people” and therefore considers “education to be the cornerstone of all national development efforts, particularly in human resources development, economic growth and poverty alleviation.”

Eritrea’s education sector plan is a rolling five-year plan that covers all sectors except tertiary education. Despite impressive education sector progress since independence in 1991, challenges to achieving Education for All goals remain. The main obstacles identified and addressed in the plan include low access and high gender and location-based disparities as well as low quality and relevance of education.

To address these challenges, the plan outlines three major sector objectives and specific interventions to address each:

  1. Increase equitable access to basic (including adult and non-formal education), secondary and technical and vocational education (TVET). Interventions include:
    • Construction of additional classrooms and boarding facilities, particularly in locations where they will serve under-privileged groups and regions
    • Expansion of teacher outputs by enhancing the Asmara Teacher Education Institute and College of education
    • Increasing literacy by expanding adult literacy and post-literacy offerings
    • Increasing the transition rate from middle school (Grade 8) to secondary
    • Improving secondary school offerings
    • Strengthening TVET by reinvigorating Skills Development Centers and building new technical schools as well as renovating existing ones
  2. Improve the quality of basic, secondary, technical and vocational education through:
    • Curriculum development
    • Expansion of textbook provision
    • Enhancement of schools support systems’ development
    • In-service teacher professional development especially through distance education
  3. Strengthen institutional capacities to offer a better quality of educational services by:
    • reviewing the roles and responsibilities of the various actors and the distribution of functions among the different organizational structures
    • supporting capacity development of Ministry of Education staff
    • developing an Education Information Management System (EMIS).

The Local Education Group (LEG) in Eritrea is referred to as the Education Sector Working Group. Led by the Ministry of Education, it is made up of development partners, including: UNICEF, the European Union, the African Development Bank, the UNESCO National Commission and civil society organizations, such as: the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, the National Union of Eritrean Women and the Eritrean Teachers' Association.

Blogs and news

In the front row, two blind students use Braille machines during class. Kisiwandui primary school in Zanzibar. Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
March 26, 2018
In this article, Julia Gillard says that despite notable progress in the last few years, millions of children with disabilities are still denied their right to education. For GPE, ensuring that...
690 students attend school in Ghindae, but the classrooms are in disrepair. The GPE-supported program is providing funding to build new classrooms, as well as train teachers and distribute textbooks. Credit: GPE/Fazle Rabbani
November 07, 2017
The town of Ghindae in Eritrea has only one school with 690 students, 7 teachers and five dilapidated classrooms. Thanks to GPE’s support, old classrooms are being replaced, new textbooks have been...
A boy raises his hand in class, Burundi. Credit: UNICEF Burundi/Colfs
August 31, 2017
There is growing interest in the role of early learning programs in promoting peacebuilding because the foundations of development and learning are laid in the first five years of life. The link...

Latest grant

Children in class in Ghidae, Eritrea. October 2017.

CREDIT: GPE/Fazle Rabbani
Development objective: increasing access and enrolment and also to ensure retention and completion at primary school.
Grant agent:UNICEF

In 2013, Eritrea received a US$25.3 million grant from the Global Partnership to implement its education program with UNICEF as grant agent.

The “Enhancing Equitable Access to Quality Basic Education for Social Justice” program aims to enable children from disadvantaged communities in Eritrea, who are out of school, to receive a quality education and successfully complete a basic education cycle. The program is fully aligned with the strategic objectives of Eritrea’s education sector plan and the Local Education Group was involved in the planning of the GPE-supported program.

The program has three principal components:

  • Increasing equitable access to basic education through the provision and expansion of classrooms and schools, strengthening of complementary elementary education, and upgrading facilities catering to children with special needs and hearing impairments.
  • Improving the quality of teaching and learning in primary, lower secondary schools, early childhood development and adult literacy centers.
  • Strengthening the capacity of the ministry of education in management and monitoring.

Source: Program document, 2013


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2014-2018 25,300,000 15,111,579 UNICEF  
Sector plan development 2017 500,000 - UNICEF  
2013 115,000 114,985 UNICEF  
Program development 2013 169,250 169,250 UNICEF  
  TOTAL 26,084,250 15,395,814    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Eritrea. For detailed results from GPE funding, please look for progress reports in the grants section.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.

Last updated September 26, 2018