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:
- 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
- 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
- Strengthen institutional capacity to deliver better quality education services by:
- Reviewing roles and responsibilities among various actors and the distribution of functions among the various organizational structures
- Supporting capacity development of education ministry staff
- Developing an Education Management Information System (EMIS)
The Local Education Group (LEG) in Eritrea is known as the Education Sector Working Group. Led by the ministry of education, it is comprised of development partners including: UNICEF, European Union, African Development Bank, 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 Teachers Association of Eritrea.
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.
Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)
Primary Completion Rate (%)
Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)
Out-of-school Children Rate (%)
Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)
Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)
Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)
Student/Trained teacher ratio
Teachers Trained (%)
GPE in Eritrea
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.
Since its launch in 2014, the GPE program has contributed to the following results:
Access to education
- 17,596 out-of-school children (of which 6,785 were girls) were enrolled in school. The GPE program has significantly contributed to the overall decrease in number of out-of-school children countrywide.
- 674 primary school teachers received pre-service teacher trainings and were deployed to the most disadvantaged nomadic school and the non-formal accelerated learning centers benefiting 11,966 children.
- 20,881 adults were enrolled in adult education services and complementary elementary education.
- 30,000 copies of corrective booklets related to textbooks and teachers’ guides for both elementary and junior levels were produced to impact the quality of curriculum delivery in schools.
- 1,268,832 Grade 1, 2 and 6 textbooks and teachers’ guides were reprinted, benefitting 289,524 children.
- 110,000 learners are benefitting from the 75,000 textbooks and teachers’ guides for Grade 8 ICT.
- More than 152,000 students in grades 6, 7 and 8 are benefitting from life skills textbooks and teachers’ guides.
- 2,144,795 teachers’ guides and textbooks were distributed.
- 1,666 mother tongue training cassettes were disseminated, combined with trainings
- 186 teachers were trained on mother tongue education.
- Training 486 uncertified teachers and providing refresher training for 260 teachers in multi-grade teaching
- Developing and printing new textbooks for all subjects and grades, and distributing 200,000 copies of the citizenship education textbooks and teachers’ guides for grades 4-8.
- 15,549 children have benefitted from the provision of school benches, tables and chairs, among others.
Institutional capacity building and system strengthening
- 300 staff of the ministry of education and teachers trained to enhance assessments through national examination systems.
- 578 school directors, supervisors, regional education heads, and officials have been trained to use the Education Management Information Systems (EMIS). As a result, the trainees are providing on the job training to their supervisees on monitoring and follow up of EMIS data collection.
Source: Global Partnership for Education Program in Eritrea progress reports: February 2015 – January 2016 and February 2016 – January 2017