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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora