Overview: Basic Education

Progress and challenges

Communication for Development


Overview: Basic Education

UNICEF Eritrea/2014/Pirozzi
© UNICEF Eritrea/2014/Pirozzi

The education trends in the first decade after independence were impressive, as the number of schools increased and new schools were opened in rural areas. Whereas there have been concerted efforts to increase access to quality education, such as free basic education policy and the implementation of non-formal education programmes, significant numbers of children are still out of school. The net enrolment rate at primary (elementary school for children aged 6-10) is 81% meaning at least 19% of children are out of school. However, the problem of OOSC is more acute at pre-primary where 79% of the population of 5-year olds are not school-ready; and at lower secondary level where 70% of children aged 11-13 are out of school. Moreover, every year 5% of school children drop out while 13% repeat grades. The majority of those affected are girls and children in disadvantaged communities, mostly nomadic populations.

The literacy rate is 74% (61% females). There are concerns about the quality of education. There is consensus that Eritrea risks missing its Education for All (EFA) goals and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets 2&3 for education.

The Basic Education Programme is guided by the Education Sector Plan (ESP 2013-2017), which articulates the Government of the State of Eritrea’s (GoSE) strategy for achieving both EFA goals and the MDGs 2, 3 & 6 of universal completion of primary education, gender equality and HIV/AIDS prevention, respectively by 2015. 

Fast facts

Eritrea currently faces huge challenges in its quest to provide equitable access to education for its children and adolescents.

27.2 % of school-aged children are still out of school.

Most affected are those living in the rural and remote areas such as the nomadic population, which roughly comprises 5 to 10 per cent of the estimated 3.5 million population (Ministry of National Development).

More than 31% of nomadic children (7-14 years) are out of school.

In addition to access to education, the quality of education is also an issue.

Due to challenges of access and quality of education, it is projected that Eritrea will need greater efforts to achieve all MDGs, including the target of universal primary education with gender equality by 2015.





Education Sector Development Plan 2013-2017



 Email this article

unite for children