News / Africa

Official: Education Investment Key To Eritrea Development

Semere Russom is Eritrea’s education minister Semere Russom is Eritrea’s education minister
x
Semere Russom is Eritrea’s education minister
Semere Russom is Eritrea’s education minister
Peter Clottey
This is Part Five of a five-part series on Eritrea Today
Continue to Parts:     1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5



Eritrea’s education minister says the country invests 45 percent of its annual budget on schooling as one of the main tools for human resource development. 
 
Semere Russom said Eritrea places emphasis on technical education as a means of producing the necessary manpower for the country’s development.
 
Eritrea’s educational system starts at pre-school, and continues through elementary, junior secondary, senior secondary and tertiary levels.
 
Russom said the formal education system collapsed prior to independence due to over three decades of armed struggle to attain freedom.  Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia 21 years ago.
 
“Educational opportunities were disrupted, but after independence, our educational system was on track, and for the last 21 years it has been going on very well,” Russom said.
 
For over two decades, official records show, the government has increased the number of pre-primary schools from 91 to 476,  including 237 kindergartens and 239 community care giving centers. 

At the elementary level, the government says enrollment jumped from 160,000 in 1991-1992 to about 311,700 in 2010-2011.  Records show that over the same period,  middle school enrollment increased from 28,000 to more than 100,000, and the number of technical schools also increased from two to six.
 
Education minister Russom said the government has also established the Eritrea Institute of Technology and six other colleges in different parts of the country.
         
But the U.S. State Department notes that there remains a shortage of schools and teachers at all levels, and in rural areas girls often stop going to school at a young age, in order to work at home. The report also notes that though primary education to grade 7 is tuition-free, students are required to pay for uniforms, supplies and transportation, costs which are prohibitive for some families.

In addition, in order to graduate high school and qualify for higher education, all students are required to spend their final year at a military camp -- but the State Department report says many students drop out or attempt to leave the country after grade 11 to avoid going to the camp.

And State Department also reports that Eritrea restricted academic freedom, including sanctioning teachers for their writing, research, or curriculum.

In 1991, Russom said the new nation had to begin from scratch to build up the education system, including new curriculum.
         
He said the government recently initiated a reformed curriculum, which he said better equips Eritrean students to compete globally.
 
“Students who went through our educational system in the country have been going for further education in different parts of the world [including] South Africa, United States, [the Netherlands], universities in various countries in Europe," Russom said.

"All these students have not only coped with the educational systems of these different countries but [also] they proved that they are capable of carrying whatever is needed of them and they have been doing it very successfully,” Russom said.
 
He said the government supports sending some students abroad to further their studies, but mandates that upon completion of their programs they return home to participate in building the country.
 
“We are employing a sizable number of foreign expatriate teachers from international markets. But we have an exit mechanism, whereby students who are going abroad for their further studies come back to their country and then replace the expatriate teachers,” Russom said.
 
Some education expert groups have sharply criticized Eritrea’s “poor and substandard” educational system. They said the system falls below international standards and is not capable of equipping students to compete on the global stage.
 
But, education minister Russom disagrees with the assessment.
 
“I wonder on what their evaluation is based," he said. "What other proof is needed to attest that the educational system of the country is sound?   These students have been through our system and you found them capable of coping with the rest of the world’s higher education wherever they are going.”
 
He said the government realizes that education is a foundation for Eritrea’s development. He cited the government’ five-year strategic plan to help improve and transform the country’s educational system.
 
“In this plan,  all evaluations of the education system has been made and recommendations and future plans are set for action to be taken in the five years and further as well….Human resource development is a priority in the country, and we are working very hard [to emphasize] this issue,” Russom said.
Education minister Semere Russom tells Peter Clottey education investment is crucial
Education minister Semere Russom tells Peter Clottey education investment is cruciali
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid