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Enrollment rate plummets as violence, drought grip Ethiopia

Saturday September 17, 2022
By Amanuel Yelkal

The Ministry of Education says enrollment rate of students across Ethiopia is 45 percent lower than the target set to be achieved during the new academic year, which is set to begin on September 18, 2022.

Despite the plan to enroll 29.3 million students across the country this year, excluding Tigray Region, 16.3 million have been registered. It is a situation attributed to the deterioration of the security situation and drought.  

Yohannes Wegaso, a senior official at the Ministry of Education, in a press briefing at the premise of the Ministry, attributed the fall in enrollment rate with the rise in number of internally displaced people due to internal conflicts and drought.

“The year has been very challenging,” said Yohannes. “Considering this, one can understand why we did not meet the target.”

There are over half a million internally displace persons (IDPs) in Ethiopia. Over two-thirds of them are in Benishangul Gumuz, while the rest are in Amhara, Tigray, Oromia, and Somali regions.

The figure from the Ministry is way higher than what OCHA reported this year. More than 2.93 million children across Ethiopia remained out of school, including 2.53 million due to violence and 401,000 due to drought, according to the UN agencies report in July this year.

Over 9382 schools were fully or partially damaged requiring rehabilitation support, while 4262 schools were closed due to violence and natural disasters, according to the same source.

The Ministry this week admitted that 1,300 schools have been fully damaged because of conflict across the country. Another 3,000 schools have also been looted, according to the same source.

For over a decade, Ethiopia has been making a great progress in improving access to education. This has been however hampered in the last six years because of political instability, public protest and a full-scale war since 2020.

There has been rebuilding efforts by regional and federal authorities in cooperation with development partners.

“We have planned to reconstruct 200 schools this year,” added Yohannes.

The Ministry of Education estimated that USD 2.2 billion is needed to launch a five-year recovery program in the sector.


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