Ethiopia to improve refugees’ access to education

Photo credit: JRS Eastern Africa. Eritrean children studying in Ethiopia.

TMP – 14/01/2018

Ethiopia’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) has vowed to continue to work to improve access to education for children and young people residing in refugee camps across the country.

In November 2017, Ethiopia formally launched its ‘Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework’ (CRRF) in response to pledges made in 2016, which aims to integrate refugees into host communities, including by increasing school enrollment.

Some 177,745 refugees are currently enrolled in primary, secondary, pre-school and alternative education in camps throughout the country.
Talking to the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), Communication and Public Relations Team Leader at ARRA Suleyman Ali said the primary education enrolment rate has already increased by 8.5 percent compared to the previous year.

Through a campaign that has run, under the motto of “No school age child shall be out of school”, the institution has facilitated 20,573 new enrolments in 2017, he added.
This year, ARRA says it will continue to focus its efforts on constructing new schools and deploying qualified teachers.
“We have also constructed an additional 28 blocks of classrooms [with] four classes for each room and we were able to employ some 288 teachers, including 139 qualified Ethiopian nationals,” Ali stated.

In addition to enabling refugees to attend primary education, more refugees have also been able to enroll in secondary and tertiary school programmes.
The government has provided scholarships for Eritrean refugees since 2010, but also opened the programme for South Sudanese and Somalis in 2012.

More than 2,380 refugees have enrolled in public universities through the government scholarship programme so far.
Refugees are also increasingly able to attend technical and vocational education in Addis Ababa and Shire. A total of 6,773 refugees have already enrolled in such schools.

Ethiopia is home to the world’s fifth largest refugee population, hosting more than 850,000 people, mainly from Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan.