Eritrean Public Schools

The Eritrean education plan foresees 12 years of compulsory education, divided as follows:

  • Elementary School (from year one to year five)
  • Junior School (from year six to year eight)
  • Secondary School (from year nine to year twelve)

However since 2003, students attend the last year of the Secondary School in Sawa

. By the end of the twelfth year, the students have to pass an exam in order to gain entrance in universities. In the Elementary School all lessons are in Tigrinya, but from Junior School to the last year all subjects are taught in English. At the end of the Junior School students have to pass an exam on all the subjects studied in order to gain admission in the Secondary School.

Classes are very numerous, especially in the Elementary School. In fact in each class there are around 50/60 students.

Moreover, there are many dropouts. The reasons are several: health, family problems, and disinterest. Many times the students that leave school come from a very poor family and have to go to work in order to financially help their parents. Furthermore, the Eritrean school system provides that after more than 2/3 weeks of consecutive absence, the student is expelled from the school. This is a disadvantage for those who cannot go to school for long periods.

The Eritrean school has to face many problems. For example the buildings are very old and there is no maintenance. There is a growing need of furniture such as chairs, desks and blackboards, other than printers and photocopiers that are essential to produce educational material (exams texts, school reports) and tanks for water supply (because in Eritrea water is scarce and rationed).

Moreover, many Eritrean families have from 5 to 8 children and have to face all the charges for school material such as uniforms, notebooks and pens.


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