Education System in Ethiopia

Primary Education

The academic year runs from September to July and education is free at the primary level. Students enter school at age 7 and compulsory (primary) education lasts for six years and ends at age 12. In Ethiopia, 32% of children of official primary school ages are out of school. Education in Ethiopia remains less than satisfactory. In rural areas where facilities are often thinly spread and there are wide disparities between the poorest and richest children, especially at the primary level. 

Middle Education

Middle school, or lower secondary school, lasts for four years. Lower secondary school covers the first four years of the six year complete secondary education program. Students are generally ages 13 - 16. Lower secondary education culminates in the Ethiopian General Secondary Education Certificate, which grants access to upper secondary education. 

Secondary Education

Upper secondary education begins at age 17 and lasts for two years. Two concentrations, science or social science, are offered and upon completion of study the students sit for the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate and more recently the Ethiopian Higher Education Entrance Examination. Passing of at least five subjects are required in the final examination.

Vocational Education

A vocational stream is also offered and lasts 2 or 3 years in the fields of teacher training, commerce, technology, agriculture, and military training. Upon completion of the vocational track, students receive the Technical and Vocational Education Diploma or Training or Teacher Training College Diploma. Vocational education does not grant access to higher education and leads to employment. 

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education options range from the Teacher's Certificate (one year of study at a teacher training college), to Diploma/Advanced Diploma (Diploma/Advanced Diploma - 2 or 3 years of study offered by engineering and technological institutes, health and commercial institutions, agricultural colleges), to the three year Diploma from teacher training colleges. 

The first university degree, or bachelor's degree, ranges from four years for arts/science/education, to five years for pharmacy/engineering/architecture/law, to six years for medical/veterinary medicine programs. The second university degree offers master's degrees, which last for two years after the bachelor's degree, along with certificates of specialization / specialization diplomas, which are three years beyond medical programs. The doctoral degree requires three to five years of study post-master. 

According to the Ministry of Education, undergraduate enrollment at public universities reached 34,000 in 2000/2001. By 2007/2008 this grew to 125,000 and women make up almost 30% of undergraduate and 10% of graduate populations. Higher educational institutions are monitored by the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA). The oldest university in Ethiopia is the University of Addis Ababa established in 1940. Today, over 22 federal universities exist in the country, with plans to establish ten more in the coming years. 

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