Education in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has made tangible progress in the education sector. The system expanded from having 10 million learners a decade ago to more than 25 million learners today. The country has been able to maintain and improve the learning achievement in key subjects. For instance, in 4th grade, the total number of students achieving basic proficiency or higher in all subjects increased from 505,000 in 2011 to 792,000 in 2015 (57% increase).

To bolster up this upward trend, Ethiopia developed a sector plan for 2015/16 to 2019/20. The Education Sector Development Program V (ESDP V) is guided by the vision to maintain the momentum of expanding equitable access to quality general education, establish technical and vocational education and training institutes in all woredas, strengthen tertiary education institutions and provide lifelong learning opportunities so that all can contribute and benefit from rapid growth and economic change in Ethiopia.

Six priority programs have been selected in this regard with their respective goals:

  1. To improve the management of the education system to increase institution performance and student achievement,
  2. To improve the quality of general education in order to motivate children to complete primary and secondary school and provide them with the knowledge, skills and values that would help them become productive and responsible citizens,
  1. To give all children access to pre-primary education for school preparedness and access to nearby institutions where they can complete full eight years of primary education and two years of general secondary education,
  2. To create a learning society by providing adult and non-formal education related to lifelong learning opportunities that will contribute to personal, societal and economic development,
  3. To produce a lower-and middle-level, competent, motivated, adaptable and innovative workforce,
  4. To produce competent graduates who possess appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes, to promote knowledge and technology transfer based on national development and community needs through research, and to ensure that education and research promote principles of freedom in exchange of views and opinions based on reason, democratic and multicultural values.

The ESDP V also focuses on eight crosscutting issues that affect education including gender, special needs, HIV/AIDS, environmental protection, education in emergencies, school health and nutrition, and drug and substance abuse prevention.

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Latest grant

Development objective: Improving the quality of General Education (Grades 1-12) throughout the country.
Allocation: US$100,000,000
Years: 2017-2019
Grant agent: World Bank
Disbursements: US$85,502,418

The current GPE grant of US$100 million is channeled into improving learning conditions in primary and secondary schools and strengthening institutions at different levels of educational administration. Seven other development partners are involved in supporting the general education program in Ethiopia along with GPE: the World Bank, DFID, Finland, UNICEF, Italy, Norway, and USAID.

The GPE-funded program has six components:

  1. Curriculum implementation and teaching and learning materials, which emphasizes improving the quality of learning and relevance of curriculum, and increasing the supply of teaching and learning materials from kindergarten to grade 12;
  2. A teacher development program, which seeks to enhance the quality of teaching in general education through pre-service and in-service teacher training and continuous professional development;
  3. A school improvement program, which supports the strengthening of school planning to improve learning outcomes, and to partly fund school improvement plans through school grants;
  4. A system management and capacity building program, which includes education management information system (EMIS), quality assurance systems, and capacity building programs;
  5. ICT in education, which aims to build ICT infrastructure and skills within the education sector by:
    • supporting the development of a policy framework that will guide all ICT in general education initiatives by establishing a national institution
    • provision of E-cloud infrastructure to improve learning conditions in 300 secondary schools and 10 teacher training institutions
    • integration of ICT into teaching and learning through a Learning Management System
  6. Program planning and coordination, monitoring and evaluation and communication, which focuses on institutional strengthening by developing capacities in all aspects of program coordination, monitoring and evaluation communication to increase awareness and ownership and to ensure effective participation of all stakeholders.

The objectives for the variable part of the grant, to achieve results in learning outcomes, equity and efficiency, are the following:

  1. Reduce the proportion of low performing primary schools (Level 1 in inspection standards) in the region with highest share of these schools;
  2. Improve the learning environment of pre-primary classes in two emerging regions by increasing the capacity of facilitators to deliver an early childhood education curriculum package;
  3. Improve the gender balance in school leadership by increasing the number of trained female primary school principals;
  4. Encourage more inclusive learning environments by increasing the school grant allocation to support special needs;
  5. Reduce Grade 1 dropout rates in the region with the highest dropout rate.

The Federal Ministry of Education leads the program in partnership with the World Bank as grant agent.

Source: World Bank project appraisal document. September 2016


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2017-2019 100,000,000 85,502,418 World Bank Completion report (variable part)
2014-2019 100,000,000 100,000,000 World Bank Progress report
2010-2013 97,828,573 97,828,573 World Bank  
2008-2013 69,535,734 69,535,734 World Bank  
Sector plan development 2016 187,170 67,774 UNICEF  
Program development 2019 200,000 World Bank  
2016 199,000 165,433 World Bank  
  TOTAL 367,950,477 353,099,932    

GPE has also provided the Basic Education Network in Ethiopia (BEN-E) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund, to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Ethiopia 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 February 07, 2020