Education in Ethiopia - An Overview

Formal education in Ethiopia is started in 1908. The current education policy in Ethiopia assures for growth and development of education. The total government budget has increased by 84%. Education is practical and relevant. The Ethiopian people have got the right to pursue education in their own language at the elementary level in 1993. 

The Ethiopian government has allocated a huge budget for building school infrastructure. Regional government has given important role in developing education at elementary level. However, the higher education in Ethiopia is sole responsibility of the central government. The government has planned to build at least one university per regional state and one education college, one technology college and one medical college. The number of girls taking enrolment in elementary schools is increasing every year.

The sequence of general education in Ethiopia is six years of primary school, four years of lower secondary school and two years of higher secondary school. 

Amharic is Ethiopia’s official language alongside English. Amharic is spoken as a mother tongue by only about 30 percent of Ethiopians, the language of instruction used in elementary education varies greatly by region. Languages used include Oromo, Amharic, Somali, Tigrinya, and at least 10 additional languages. 

English is introduced as a medium of instruction between grades five and eight, depending on the region, and is the only language of instruction in secondary education and higher education.

Ethiopia has a centralized admissions system. The admissions criteria for undergraduate programs are set by the federal Ministry of Education (MOE) for all Institutes of Higher Education (HEIs), public and private. Admission is generally based on the EUEE and is highly selective, given the scarcity of university seats. Private HEIs in Ethiopia must require to get a (Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) accreditation certificate for their programs and submit to quality audits by HERQA.

The Ethiopian school year runs from September to the end of June or the beginning of July. Universities usually have two semesters of 16 weeks each. According to UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), the number of Ethiopian students enrolled in degree programs abroad doubled from 3,003 in 1998 to 6,453 in 2017. To put this number into perspective, however, there are currently 89,094 Nigerians, 14,012 Kenyans, and 12,988 Sudanese studying in degree programs at foreign universities.

For more details see official website of Ministry of Education, Ethiopia.
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