Eritrea: Illiteracy Rate Reduced to 20 Percent

Eritrea’s national adult literacy rate has improved to 80 percent owing in large part to its Adult Education program. Youth literacy rate is over 93 percent, the highest in Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa.


The head of adult education quality control in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Weldu Berhe reported that with the integrated efforts on the part of the concerned institutions the literacy has significantly been reduced.

He made the comment in connection with September 8, International Day of Illiteracy Eradication.

Mr. Weldu pointed out that currently the illiteracy rate throughout the country is 20% and that there is plan to reduce it to 10% in five years time. He expressed on the importance of integrated efforts between the Ministry, national association, Assemblies and administrations.

Indicating that the Central and Southern regions are nearing to become illiteracy free region, Mr. Weldu said that the focus will be on the Anseba, Gash Barka and Southern and Northern Red Sea regions.

Regarding the low participation of women in the adult education program, Mr. Weldu said that the low awareness of the public has been the bottle neck for the low participation of women and that owing to the sustainable awareness raising programs the number of women participation is on the rise.

Documents of the Ministry of Education indicates that since the commencement of the adult education program 16 years back, 80% out of the one million registered to attend have successfully concluded their education.

Youth literacy rate of Eritrea
Youth (15-24 age) literacy rate of Eritrea increased from 77.9 % in 2002 to 93.3 % in 2015, growing at an annual rate of 9.76 %, the highest in the region.

6 thoughts on “Eritrea: Illiteracy Rate Reduced to 20 Percent

  1. Cabinet of Ministers holds meeting

    (Asmara, 08 September 2017) – The Cabinet of Ministers held a meeting at State House yesterday morning to review progress and deliberate on new programmes in the sectors of education and health.

    Access to education in all levels – elementary, middle/high school as well as tertiary – has quadrupled in aggregate terms in the past 25 years. Total school enrollment in the academic year 2016-17 was over 740,000. Gender equity is growing at a substantial pace with overall female student enrollment hovering at around 43%.

    Even geographic distribution of schools throughout the country is another vital policy objective that the Ministry of Educations has pursued vigorously in the past years through the funneling of substantial

    In this context, the Cabinet of Ministers discussed ways and means of enhancing the quality of education, the expansion of technical and vocational schools, the wider application of information technology, other supportive facilities as well as better infrastructural and administrative frameworks in all the schools.

    The optimal alignment of education with the Government’s overall development strategies and objectives was another issue discussed in greater depth. In this regard, the Cabinet of Ministers stressed the need to buttress the ongoing internal review underway by the Ministry of Education in all these areas with an external audit as well as through additional inputs of relevant Ministries and sectors.

    Regarding the health sector, the Cabinet of Ministers reviewed efforts exerted to provide health services to the public through expanding health facilities across the country; various programmes launched to control communicable and non-communicable diseases; the expansion of vaccination programmes; and ensuring the health of the public in general and that of mothers and children in particular. Progress and challenges of human resources development in the sector; supply of medicines and status of domestic drug production were also examined in greater detail.

    In the health sector too, a comprehensive review will be undertaken to gauge the standards of equipment of regional and referral hospitals, the human resources development programmes and related parameters.

    At the end of the session, President Isaias Afwerki gave a briefing to the Cabinet of Ministers on recent diplomatic developments regarding simmering tensions and trends in the wider Horn of Africa Middle Eastern region.

  2. Call for integrated effort to eradicate malaria

    (Asmara, 08 September 2017) – The Ministry of Health called for integrated efforts on the part of the concerned government and public institution as well the public to eradicate malaria.

    Mr. Selam Mihreteab, head of Malaria Control in the ministry, owing to the strong effort being exerted the prevalence of malaria has been reduced by 90% and that concerted efforts will be conducted to fully eradicate the disease by 2030.

  3. Looking at Ethiopia’s Literacy Rate of ~50% makes sense now as to why Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin of Woyane miss-understood the decision of EEBC on Badme where he thought it was ruled in favor of Woyane as opposed to Eritrea. I hope Woyane officials start heading to grammar school before they go on a shopping-spree for higher degrees like PhD.

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