Education in Ethiopia

The education system in Ethiopia has numerous challenges. With around 80 ethnic groups, each with their own languages and lifestyles, it is difficult to implement an educational system that gives access to all.

With the help of development organizations, more schools are being built in remote and rural areas, and increasing numbers of children are getting access to education, but there is still work to be done.

Children start school at age five. Communities can choose the language of instruction in primary schools but English is the language of instruction in secondary and post-secondary schools. Enrollment tends to be high in primary schools but many children and youth do not complete their schooling.

There are many reasons for the low rate of school completion. In some areas, secondary schools simply do not exist. Children are forced to travel long distances to school, on foot, which takes time and energy and puts them at risk of abduction. In some families, children must work to bring in income, and in others, traditional beliefs about educating females prevent girls from attaining an education. Lack of toilets for physical privacy also causes girls to drop out of school.

The curriculum includes instruction in the mother tongue taught at the school, Amharic, English, the natural and social sciences, math, and phys. ed.

Technical and Vocational Education

To help ensure a workforce trained in the skills the country needs to foster development, the government encourages the construction and equipping of technical and vocational education training (TVET) centres. These schools train students in trades, such as road construction, construction management, plumbing and sanitary installation, and computer design. They are intended to create a competent, capable workforce, improve individuals’ employability, and spread a culture of self-employability.

There are both private and public TVETs, with the privately owned schools typically found in urban areas. Giving rural residents access to this type of post-secondary education is one of many development initiatives going on in the country.

Post-Secondary Education

Students who pass the Ethiopian Higher Education Entrance Examination can go on to post-secondary education, if they can afford it and there are opportunities they can access. There are numerous public and private universities and colleges in the country. Bachelor, master, and doctorate programs are all available and open to both men and women, although the percentage of students who are male is still higher. There are also teacher training institutes and colleges offering three-year programs.

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