Hundreds of thousands of refugee students from neighboring countries are enrolled at schools under the auspices of regional administrations in Ethiopia, the Ministry of Education disclosed.
As part of the initiative to push forward the inclusion of refugees in societal services along with host communities, the government has been creating an inclusive learning environment for students who happen to be refugees, as the Ministry’s report to the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HoPR) disclosed.
Reading the Ministry’s nine-month performance to Members of Parliament (MPs) last Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Minister Berhanu Nega (Prof.) said Ethiopia enrolled over 173,000 refugee students from pre-primary to higher education.
“Hosting the refugees who are fleeing from neighboring countries due to man-made or natural problems, and availing of social services is one of the issues Ethiopia promised the international community to address,” Berhanu told MPs.
Since the current budget year began, the minister revealed that 47 pre-primary schools enrolled 48,117 young learners while 51 primary schools welcomed 109,578 student. Around 10 secondary schools teach some 14,345 pupils.
“Additionally, we are teaching on scholarship about 1,060 students at 32 of our higher education institutions,” Berhanu told lawmakers, bringing the refugee student count in Ethiopia beyond 173,000.
According to details The Reporter obtained from the UN refugee bureau, Ethiopia is listed among nations with a conductive education policy for refugees. Dubbed Education Sector Development Plan VI, Ethiopia’s current education blueprint includes refugee schooling for the first time – a shift the the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said “pave the way for inclusion of refugee education in the national system.” Moreover, the Refugee Proclamation passed in 2019 also grants refugees access to scholarly opportunities.
The data from UNHCR reveals that almost the same number of refugees as the Ministry revealed enrolled in the academic year 2021/2022. The enrollment rate for refugee students, as UNHCR revealed, was 40 percent for pre-primary school, 50 percent for primary school, and 19 percent for secondary school.
The average national enrollment rate of students stands lower than the rate of refugee students at the pre-primary school with 36.7 percent, while counting higher in primary and secondary school with 95 and 42 percent, respectively.
Even though most of the teachers are unqualified, UNHCR reported that 2,804 of the 3,694 teachers working with refugees are refugees themselves.