Education in Eritrea

Last updated
The Eritrea Institute of Technology EritreaInstituteOfTechnology.jpg
The Eritrea Institute of Technology

Education in Eritrea is officially compulsory between 7 and 16 years of age. [1] Important goals of Eritrea's educational policy are to provide basic education in each of Eritrea's mother tongues [2] 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. [3] The education infrastructure is currently inadequate to meet these needs. [1]


Asmara University training center Asmara, university training center.JPG
Asmara University training center


School in adi gadad. Eritrea, adi gadad.jpg
School in adi gadad.
Pupils in uniform Eritrea 13.jpg
Pupils in uniform

The first schools in Ertrea were those of the catholic missionaries, but in 1902 were officially created by the Italian government the first two elementary schools in Italian Eritrea, with two teachers from Italy: the first and main in Asmara and the second in Cheren. [4] During colonial times most of the students were Italians, but after WW2 the number of Eritrean students has increased: in 1956 they were 17% of the students (while the Italians were 83%), while in 2015 they were nearly all. The highest-level institution (in the 1930s) was the Italian Lyceum "Ferdinando Martini" in Eritrea's capital, that was founded in 1926.B. D'Ambrosio

Initially there were only a few religious schools in Eritrea, but with the Italian governments were started the first school systems in Eritrea mainly during the late 1930s (when was established the Eritrea Governorate). In 1940 Dr. Vincenzo Di Meglio promoted the creation of the "School of Medicine" in Asmara (the first university institution in Eritrea, located initially in the Liceo Martini), under the direction of Prof. Ferro Luzzi. [5]

In 1940 a group of Italian doctors under the leadership of Dr. Vincenzo Di Meglio promoted the creation of university studies in Asmara and in 1941 they created the "Scuola di Medicina" (using a section of the Liceo Martini), linked to the Asmara Hospital (then named "Regina Elena"). It was the first university institution of Eritrea and aimed at the preparation of students for the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Rome.Silvia Nocchi

After WW2 the first university in Asmara was created. This university was founded in 1958, albeit by a different name as the Collegio Cattolico della Santa Famiglia while ruled by the Italian religious organization called 'Piae Madres Nigritiae' ("Comboni Sisters"): successively, in 1964 the university had been renamed as "University of Asmara".

In the 1990s the independent Eritrea started a program to bring literacy to all children in Eritrea. Since then the school system has reached nearly 90% of young Eritreans.

A Human Rights Watch report in August 2019 suggested that the final year secondary school students are forced into compulsory military training at the Sawa military camp, where they are subjected to systematic abuse, including torture, harsh working conditions and paid insufficiently. The military personnel control the students with physical punishment, military-style discipline, and forced labour. [6]

Levels education

Education system in Eritrea [7]
Basic Education- 7 years
Middle - Junior High School (Years included in basic)
Secondary -Secondary School - 4 years
Post- secondary - Advanced Diploma - 3 years
Higher Education - Bachelor - 4/5 years
Higher Education - Master - 2 years

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 [8] in Eritrea and two universities, University of Asmara (UoA) and the Eritrea Institute of Technology (EIT), 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 EIT and the UoA.There are some big primary and middle schools like Mai-Tesfa, Awet and Model [9]

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. [10]


Statistics suggest that between 39 and 57 percent of school-aged children attend primary school and 21 percent attend secondary school. [1] Student-teacher ratios are high: 45 to 1 at the elementary level and 54 to 1 at the secondary level. [1] There are an average 63 students per classroom at the elementary level and 97 per classroom at the secondary level. [1] Learning hours at school are often less than four hours per day. [1] 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. [1]

The overall literacy rate in Eritrea is estimated to be about 84 percent in 2020. [11] In the age 15–24 the literacy rate is 89 percent. [12] [13] "The Ministry [of Education] plans to establish a university in every region in the future." [9]

Related Research Articles

Asmara Capital of Eritrea

Asmara, or Asmera, is the capital and most populous city of Eritrea, in the country's Central Region. It sits at an elevation of 2,325 metres (7,628 ft), making it the sixth highest capital in the world by altitude. The city is located at the tip of an escarpment that is both the northwestern edge of the Eritrean Highlands and the Great Rift Valley in neighbouring Ethiopia. In 2017, the city was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved modernist architecture. Asmera was first settled in 800 BC with a population ranging from 100 to 1000. The city was then founded in the 12th century AD after four separate villages unified to live together peacefully after long periods of conflict.

Education in Italy is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age, and is divided into five stages: kindergarten, primary school, lower secondary school, upper secondary school and university (università). Education is free in Italy and free education is available to children of all nationalities who are residents in Italy. Italy has both a private and public education system.

The Asmara International Community School (AICS) in Asmara, Eritrea, is an independent, coeducational day school which offers an educational program to children from prekindergarten through grade 12. The school was founded in 1994 to serve the needs of the international community and other students seeking English-language education.

Higher education in Italy

Higher education in Italy is mainly provided by a large and international network of public and state affiliated universities. State-run universities of Italy are under the supervision of Italian's Ministry of Education. There is also a number of private universities and state-run post-secondary educational centers providing a vocational instruction.

Liceo scientifico type of Italian high school specializing in science education

Liceo scientifico is a type of secondary school in Italy. It is designed to give students the skills to progress to any university or higher educational institution. Students can attend the liceo scientifico after successfully completing middle school.

University of Asmara

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". The school was meant to provide for the local population, though its initial enrollment in the 1950s was entirely Italian.

Liceo classico type of Italian senior high school specializing in classical studies

Liceo classico is the oldest, public secondary school type in Italy. Its educational curriculum spans over five years, when students are generally about 14 to 19 years of age.

Eritrea Institute of Technology

The Eritrea Institute of Technology (EIT) or Mai-Nefhi College is a technological institute located near the town Himbrti, Mai Nefhi, Eritrea. It is situated about 12 km southwest of Asmara, near the Mai Nefhi dam. The institute has three colleges: Science, Engineering and Technology, and Education. The institute began with about 5,500 students during the 2003-2004 academic year.

Education in Somalia

Education in Somalia refers to the academic system within Somalia. The Ministry of Education is officially responsible for education in Somalia, with about 15% of the nation's budget allocated to scholastic instruction. The breakaway republic of Somaliland maintain its own advanced Ministry of Education.

Education in Ivory Coast

Education in Ivory Coast continues to face many challenges. The literacy rate for adults remains low: in 2000, it was estimated that only 48.7% of the total population was literate. Many children between 6 and 10 years are not enrolled in school, mainly children of poor families. The majority of students in secondary education are male. At the end of secondary education, students can sit the Baccalauréat examination. The country has universities in Abidjan, Bouaké, and Yamoussoukro.

Eritrea Country in Eastern Africa

Eritrea, officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in Eastern Africa, with its capital at Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi), and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands.

Education in Equatorial Guinea

There have been major strides with Education in Equatorial Guinea over the past ten years, although there is still room for improvement. Education in Equatorial Guinea is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science (MEC). Split into four levels, preschool, primary, secondary, and higher education, the Equatorial Guinea's educational system only deems preschool and primary school mandatory. Education in Equatorial Guinea is free and compulsory until the age of 14. Although it has a high GNI per capita, which, as of 2018, was 18,170 international dollars, its educational outcomes fall behind those of the rest of West and Central Africa. In 1993, the gross primary enrollment rate was 149.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 83.4 percent. Late entry into the school system and high dropout rates are common, and girls are more likely than boys to drop out of school. As of 2015, the net enrollment rates for each education level are as follows: 42 percent for preschool, between 60 percent and 86 percent for primary school, and 43.6 percent for secondary school. UNESCO has cited several issues with the current educational system, including poor nutrition, low quality of teachers, and lack of adequate facilities.

Italian Eritreans

Italian Eritreans are Eritrean-born descendants of Italian settlers as well as Italian long-term residents in Eritrea.

Vincenzo DiMeglio

Vincenzo DiMeglio, called also Vincenzo Di Meglio (1903-1987), was an Italian doctor who worked in the Africa Orientale Italiana in the late thirties and during World War II. He was also an Italian Eritrean politician who saved Eritrea from being divided in 1947 between Sudan and Ethiopia

Secondary education in Italy lasts eight years and is divided in two stages: scuola secondaria di primo grado, also known as the scuola media, corresponding to the ISCED 2011 Level 2, middle school and scuola secondaria di secondo grado, which corresponds to the ISCED 2011 Level 3, high school. The middle school lasts three years from the age of 11 to age 14, and the upper secondary from 14 to 19.

The Italian School of Asmara is a government-operated Italian international school located in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea.

Scuola Italiana Statale di Atene Italian international school in Greece

Scuola Italiana Statale di Atene is an Italian international school in Ano Patissia in northern Athens, Greece. Owned by the Italian government, it serves elementary, lower secondary, and liceo levels.

Istituto Statale Italiano Omnicomprensivo di Addis Abeba or the Scuola Statale Italiana di Addis Abeba is an Italian international school along Belay Zeleke Street in Arada, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Owned by the Italian government, the school has primary, lower secondary, and liceo upper secondary levels.

Roma Italian School of Algiers Italian international school in Algeria

Scuola Italiana Roma di Algeri is a private Italian international school in Hydra, Algiers, Algeria. It includes the Pinocchio preschool and serves up to upper secondary school. It was formerly in another campus in Hydra.

Liceo Vermigli School in Zurich, Switzerland

Liceo linguistico e scientifico "Pier Martire Vermigli"Italian pronunciation: [liˈtʃeːo liŋˈɡwistiko e ʃenˈtiːfiko] is a private Italian international liceo in Zürich, Switzerland. It is on the second and third floors of the "Casa d'Italia" facility, which also houses the Scuola statale primaria e dell'infanzia/Scuola Italiana di Zurigo, a primary school operated by the Italian government; and the Scuola media paritaria "Enrico Fermi", which is a private Italian lower secondary school.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Eritrea country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (September 2005). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. Asfaha, Yonas Mesfun; Jeanne Kurvers; Sjaak Kroon (2006). "Literacy use and instruction in multilingual Eritrea". Leeds African Studies Bulletin.
  3. "Eritrea" (PDF). World Data on Education. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. September 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  4. Scuola coloniale eritrea (in Italian)
  5. Nicky Di Paolo: "La Scuola di Medicina di Asmara" (in Italian)
  6. "Young Eritreans Would Rather Risk Death at Sea Than Let Their Leaders Take Their Freedom". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  8. Baseline Study on Livelihood Systems in Eritrea (PDF). National Food Information System of Eritrea. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2014-10-18.
  9. 1 2 Habtetsion, Efrem (2006-08-03). "On Developing Higher Level of Education". Archived from the original on 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2006-08-03.
  10. Kifle, Temesgen (April 2002). Andreas Knorr; Alfons Lemper; Axel Sell; Karl Wohlmuth (eds.). "Educational Gender Gap in Eritrea" (PDF). Berichte aus dem Weltwirtschaftlichen Colloquium der Universität Bremen. Institute for World Economics and International Management. 78.
  12. Eritrea. CIA World Factbook
  13. Eritrea. World Bank