Primary School Dropout Rate in Ethiopia at Highest Level in a Decade

Primary school dropout rate is rising alarmingly throughout Ethiopia, fueled by the political unrest that has haunted the East African nation over the past three years, a new report published by National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) reveals. The dropout rate for primary school has reached 17.5Pct during the past fiscal year, climbing to its highest level in a decade, according to NBE’s report.

The major justification given for the upsurge in number of students dropping out of school is the political unrest throughout the country. With the persistence of violence and chaos in some parts of Ethiopia, especially in State of Oromia and Amhara, children were not able to attend class regularly, while considerable numbers of them were forced to quit.

“The political unrest in the past three years has affected enrollment rate and has resulted in the rise of primary school dropout rates, said Yohannes Wageso, Education Reform Program Director at Ministry of Education.  Additionally, the unavailability of transport facilities and the rise in cost of living have contributed a lot for the rise in primary school dropout rates, according to Yohannes. This is especially evident in State of Somali and South Nation, Nationalities and People.

By the same token, enrollment rate at primary school is exhibiting a decline, a rare occurrence for the country that has made a positive stride in education over the past two decades. Primary education (1- 8 grades) enrolments went down from 20.7 million in 2017/18 to 20 million in 2018/19; showing 3.4Pct decline compared to last year due to decline in gross enrollment ratio of grade (1-4) by 7.1Pct, according to NBE’s report.

By the end of the past fiscal year, the number of primary schools reached 37,039 from 36,466 in 2017/18. Of the total number of primary schools, about 84.2Pct were located in rural areas and 5,799 in urban centers.

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