The Eritrean Education Sector: Progress And Challenges Part II

Articles

Technical and Vocational Education

Technical and vocation training is a part of the education system that have been given much attention in recent years. The primary objective of promoting this aspect of education is to provide training opportunities for students as well as cultivate skilled human resources to complement the national development programs. As a result there are now 6 technical and vocational schools around the country while the largest one of them in Sawa encompasses 5 different vocational training centers. Graduating 3,700 professionals every year, these schools provide training in a whole rage of trades that include accounting, banking and finance, auto mechanics, building construction, drafting, entrepreneurship, animal husbandry, plant science, forestry and wildlife and many others.      


Training Teachers

Training competent and well-informed teachers is a crucial aspect of the efforts to develop the education system. To this end, the Eritrean Teachers' Training Institute (TTI), which previously provided only certificate level training, is now graduating trainees at diploma level. Some of the trainees are also provided opportunities to pursue degree and masters' level studies.


Challenges and Shortcomings

In 2002 the Government of Eritrea conducted a serious assessment of the country's education system. During the assessment which was carried out at the cabinet of ministers' level, the following were identified as the major shortcomings and challenges faced in the education sector in the post independence period:

1. Low distribution of all levels of schools in the country
2. Highly limited opportunities for tertiary level studies (Only 10-15% of secondary school students were able to pursue further studies)
3. Students who completed junior, secondary or tertiary level of studies were not very productive at the work place.
4. Although provision of access to education was progressing well, the performance of students in relation to the expenditures that were being made was very unsatisfactory.

However, rather than being hostage to these problems, the Government chose to address these problems gradually while at the same time exerting intense efforts to promote the sector. Hence, as part of the Education Sector Development Program of 2005, the Eritrean government together with development partners has made commendable progress in ensuring equitable distribution of educational opportunities, improved the quality of education, promoting technical and vocational education and strengthening institutional capacity that could enable the provision of quality and relevant education.


The education sector in Eritrea is now in the process of gradual change and development. These changes are aimed at ensuring the competence and relevance of the education system. Although such a transformation commands considerable time, funds and efforts, practical and substantial achievements have already been registered. The students graduating from the Eritrean Institute of Technology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, College of Business and Economics, College of Agriculture, College of Marine Sciences and Technology, College of Health Science Technology,  and Orotta School of Medicine represent the bright future of the country that is already on the horizon.

In addition to academic excellence, the Eritrean education system also seeks to cultivate values such as patriotism, commitment, self-reliance, work ethics, unity and harmony in the country's students. One of the many objectives of the new curriculum is also to encourage students to become observant, creative and inventive while having strong potential for science and technology.