University of Asmara

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University of Asmara
Established 1958
Type Public
President Tadesse Mehari
Location Asmara, Eritrea
15°20′33″N 38°55′39″E / 15.34250°N 38.92750°E / 15.34250; 38.92750Coordinates: 15°20′33″N 38°55′39″E / 15.34250°N 38.92750°E / 15.34250; 38.92750

The University of Asmara (UoA) was a public university in Asmara, Eritrea. The nation's first university, it was founded in 1958 by the Piae Madres Nigritiae (Comboni Sisters). The school was meant to provide for the local population, though its initial enrollment in the 50s was entirely Italian.[1]


The University was originally founded in 1958, albeit by a different name, the Catholic College of Santa Famiglia.[2]

By 1964, the University had been renamed and began offering Associate Diploma programs in the Arts, Commerce, and the Sciences.[1]

The school just limped along through the 1970s until 1979 when a new president pushed through a major reorganization of the curriculum and structure. The next years saw an increase in students from 300 to 2,700. New courses, staff, day and evening extension programs and campus buildings revived the University, together with a bilateral agreement to exchange students and faculty with the University of Addis Ababa, particularly focusing on graduate training in Addis Ababa to produce faculty for Eritrea.[1]

However, the university stopped accepting incoming students in the early 2000s. In 2002, the government issued a directive re-configuring the university. This effectively shut down all of the university's undergraduate programs. Future students were not allowed to enroll and were directed to the Eritrea Institute of Technology, which opened after the University of Asmara closed. High school graduates were not allowed to pick their course of study, and were instead assigned vocational programs based on their performance on a matriculation exam. However, students in the military were granted a medical waiver from the exams. The government denied exit visas for those looking to study abroad, and university academics who wished to travel abroad required permission from the University president and the government.[3] The university has been non-functional since the end of the academic year 2005-2006. The university was ordered to close its doors supposedly due to student protests in 2000 against alleged excessive government control of the university and lack of freedom in every-day life.


  1. ^ a b c "University of Asmara: A Brief History". Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  2. ^ Killion, Tom (1998). Historical Dictionary of Eritrea \lo] l]=09-. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3437-5. 
  3. ^ Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (11 March 2008). "Eritrea". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 24 June 2012.