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 Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid