UN-Eritrea Strategic Partnership Cooperation in Education

Outcome 3: EDUCATION

By 2021, children in vulnerable communities, including refugees, have increased access to inclusive, equitable and quality early learning and basic education.

In line with SDG 411 Eritrea’s Education Sector Plan seeks to:

(i) Ensure inclusive and equitable access to basic education,
(ii) Improve the quality of basic education and,
(iii) Enhance the institutional capacity of the education sector.

Since 1991, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has put in place formal provisions, as well as alternative mechanisms such as complementary education, adult education and lifelong learning to promote equitable access to education for all, including in hard-to-reach areas. As a result, significant achievements have been registered in the education sector.

The Ministry has invested significant resources in the provision of physical infrastructure for basic education. Consequently, the total number of schools increased from 538 in 1991, to 1,864 in 2014, contributing to an increase in student enrolment from 213,368 to 679,038 in the same period. The net enrolment rate (NER) in primary education increased from 64 per cent in 2001 to

82 percent in 201412. In addition, the NER for pre-primary level rose from 7 per cent in 1993/94 to over 20 per cent during 2008-2013. The Gender Parity Index, which highlights gender inequalities in education, declined marginally and currently stands at 0.96 at primary level, 0.94 at middle and 0.86 at secondary level.

With regard to the quality of education, the MoE has endeavoured to improve the quality of teaching and learning through continuous teacher training, curriculum review, provision of scholastic materials to improve the teacher textbook ratios, promotion of learner friendly pedagogies and increased support to parents and communities to play a supportive role in
education service delivery. To strengthen institutional capacity, the MoE has invested in the development of its management of information systems, training of education sector personnel in data management, planning and research, as well as fostering systematic collaboration with other sectors.

Significant numbers of school-aged children remain out of school, particularly at pre-primary and secondary levels. Only 17 per cent of 4 to 5 year olds attend preschool13 and around three quarters of children, especially those in the Southern Red Sea and Northern Red Sea regions, need access to formal early childhood development activities. Pastoralism, nomadic and seminomadic lifestyles of some communities as well as scattered settlements act as barriers to accessing and using education and other social services.

UN Contribution and Strategies

The UN will continue to support the GoSE implement a broad range of interventions to realise its stated objectives for basic education. These include:

(i) Increasing infrastructural capacity to cater for new enrolments, training new teachers and re-equipping existing teachers with the necessary pedagogical tools and practices to mediate the curricula of the 21st century; reviewing and updating the curriculum on a regular basis and fostering inclusive education.

(ii) Expanding community-led initiatives for promoting access to education for girls in disadvantaged areas while also strengthening preparedness and response for education in emergencies, and making more integrated provisions for the education of refugees and displaced children.

(iii) Supporting the GoSE in its efforts to strengthen partnerships with external stakeholders, as well as building on internal partnerships with the private sector, communities and children, through deepening technical support to the Education Working Group to enhance its role in the sector.

(iv) Enhancing the existing Education Management Information System (EMIS) management, planning and monitoring, as well as knowledge management through targeted interventions at the national and sub national levels.

(v) Advocating for increased investment in early learning and secondary education to foster access to formal schooling for the growing numbers of out of school children at the two levels and also to mobilize human and financial resources towards building systematic linkages between basic education, technical and vocational education and training, and tertiary education in order for the sector to tap existing knowledge, skills and other resources that are abundant in the country.