COVID-19 response

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Eritrea received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education with its response plan, an alternative delivery system and risk communication.

Education in Eritrea

Eritrea’s National Education Sector Plan 2018-2022 is the country’s second sector plan and the first one underpinned by an education sector analysis. The strategic priority is to improve quality of learning in primary and secondary education by expanding early childhood education, improving teacher qualifications, and by bringing more out-of-school children into schools. The plan further identifies girls’ education and special needs education as cross cutting areas for action.

The Ministry of Education is responsible for education policy formulation, education sector plans, curriculum development, human capacity development, financial planning, disbursements, and reporting. Its organizational structure is composed of the Minister’s Office, five departments and six regional (Zoba) education offices.

According to the Decentralization Act 1996, the six Zoba Education Offices are responsible for overall administration and management of the education sector in their respective region. The school management office/unit, together with the Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSAs), are responsible for the overall school management and school development programs.

The education sector in Eritrea faces some challenges including disparities in access to education among rural and urban regions, the scarcity of reliable data on education, education finance. Factors such as disabilities, poverty and socio-cultural norms hinder participation of many children in schools. The sector benefits from limited overseas development assistance (ODA).

Latest blogs and news

Latest grant

Children in class in Ghidae, Eritrea. October 2017.

Children in class in Ghidae, Eritrea. October 2017.

CREDIT: GPE/Fazle Rabbani
Development objective: providing educational access to the most disadvantaged groups and implementing cost effective strategies to improve learning and learning outcomes of children from those groups.
Allocation: US$17,200,000
Years: 2020
Grant agent: UNICEF
Disbursements: US$0

The program will addresses critical evidence-based challenges identified in the education sector plan and reflected as priority action areas in the multi-year action plan. This is in line with the country’s goal of providing educational access to the most disadvantaged groups and implementing cost-effective strategies to improve learning and learning outcomes of children from those groups.

The activities carried out under the program are grouped under 3 components.

  1. Expand access and ensure equity of general education

    This component has 4 sub-components (pre-primary education, primary education “grades 1-5”, middle level education “grades 6-8” and adult and distance education) and focuses on expanding access to education through:

    • building new classrooms
    • training teacher, especially more teachers who can teach in the mother tongue languages
    • strengthening management of schools serving nomadic children
    • supporting girls from vulnerable families with cash support to ensure they complete primary education
    • expanding Complementary Elementary Education (which provides an alternative route to middle school education to children who have never enrolled or have dropped out of school)
    • community awareness to improve enrollment.
  2. Improve quality and relevance of education

    Activities carried under this component include:

    • teachers’ training to improve their level of competencies
    • scaling up the successful early childhood education activity from the previous GPE-funded program by implementing the new curriculum all over the country along with supplying materials for early childhood care centers
    • a total revision of primary education curriculum to make it more relevant and aligned with the national development goals. A set of National Standards for Quality Education will be developed and disseminated.
  3. Building institutional capacity for improved education service delivery

    This component aims to strengthen the human and institutional capacity for effective and efficient monitoring and delivery of educational services. The component activities will contribute to strengthening the capacities of the Ministry of Education offices at regional and sub-regional levels. These will include:

    • implementing a string of activities for evidence and knowledge generation and use
    • conducting researches and survey activities like the National Literacy and Household Expenditure for Education survey and the Monitoring Learning Achievement round five
    • digitalizing the EMIS
    • developing sub-sector policies
    • developing a comprehensive teacher policy and creating a Teacher Information Management System to support it and consolidate the effort to strengthen teaching as a profession.

The program support will remain off budget though a major portion of the funds will be disbursed to the government. Internal audit will be conducted through the national system and financial reports will be provided to UNICEF, acting as Grant agent.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2020 17,200,000 0 UNICEF  
2014-2019 25,300,000 20,989,496 UNICEF Progress report
Sector plan development 2017-2018 500,000 500,000 UNICEF  
2013 114,986 114,986 UNICEF  
Program development 2013 169,250 169,250 UNICEF  
  Total 43,284,236 21,773,732    
Data last updated: July 27, 2020

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Eritrea, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.

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 (%)

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 May 17, 2020