Education in Eritrea
Education in Eritrea is officially compulsory between 7 and 13 years of age. Important goals of Eritrea's educational policy are to provide basic education in each of Eritrea's mother tongues as well as to produce a society that is equipped with the necessary skills to function with a culture of self-reliance in the modern economy. The education infrastructure is currently inadequate to meet these needs.
There are five levels of education in Eritrea, pre-primary, primary, middle, secondary and tertiary. There are nearly 238,000 students in the primary, middle, and secondary levels of education. There are approximately 824 schools in Eritrea and two universities, University of Asmara (UoA) and the Eritrea Institute of Technology (EIST), as well as several smaller colleges and technical schools. Current centers of tertiary education in Eritrea include, the College of Marine Biology, the College of Agriculture, the College of Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Business and Economics, the College of Nursing and Health Technology, as well as EIST and the UoA.
The education system in Eritrea is also designed to promote private sector schooling, equal access for all groups (i.e. prevent gender discrimination, prevent ethnic discrimination, prevent class discrimination, etc.) and promote continuing education through formal and informal systems.
Barriers to education in Eritrea include traditional taboos, school fees (for registration and materials), and the cost barriers of low-income households. Statistics suggest that between 39 and 57 percent of school-aged children attend primary school and 21 percent attend secondary school. Student-teacher ratios are high: 45 to 1 at the elementary level and 54 to 1 at the secondary level. There are an average 63 students per classroom at the elementary level and 97 per classroom at the secondary level. Learning hours at school are often less than four hours per day. Skill shortages are present at all levels of the education system, and funding for and access to education vary significantly by gender (with dropout rates much higher for girls) and location. The overall literacy rate in Eritrea is estimated to be about 67.8 percent, with young adults aged 15-24, 89 percent literate. "The Ministry [of Education] plans to establish a university in every region in the future."
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