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Hagere Ertra/Dawlat Iritriya (The State of Eritrea) is located in northeastern Africa on the Red Sea and is bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. The population is 5,502,026 and the literacy rate is 58.6%. There are 9 ethnic groups in Eritrea with the Tigrinya and Tigre making up the majority of the population. Tigrinya and Arabic are the languages of commerce and government. English is the language of instruction in secondary school and the University of Asmara.

Evidence of ancient civilizations tracing back to 3500 BC have also been discovered in the area of present-day Eritrea and some of the oldest human remains have been discovered in the area. Many countries and empires have controlled the area. Eritrea and Ethiopia became an Italian colony in 1885. After World War II, Eritrea was placed under a British military administration. A United Nations resolution in 1952 created a federation of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Emperor Haile Sellassie dissolved the Eritrean parliament and annexed the country in 1962. As a result, Eritreans began their fight for independence until May 1991, when a provisional government was established. In April 1993, Eritreans voted for independence from Ethiopia. Independence was granted on May 24, 1993.


Primary Education

Education in Eritrea is free and compulsory from the ages of 7 to 13. Primary school is 5 years beginning at age 7. Junior secondary school is 2 years. General senior secondary school is 4 years. At the end of the 4th year, students sit for the Eritrean Secondary Education Certificate Examination (ESECE).

Secondary Education

Technical senior secondary school is a 3- year program. Upon completion of the 3rd year, students sit for the Eritrean Secondary Education Certificate Examination (ESECE). Students can also enter this program after completion of the 1st year of general senior secondary school.

Post-Secondary Education

First and Second Cycles, Academic

The University of Asmara was founded in 1958 by the Camboni Sisters Missionary Congregation as the Holy Family University Institute with the goal of preparing students for university study in Italy. The name was changed to the University of Asmara in 1964. Because of the political strife in Eritrea, the University has a history of closing for periods of time. Admission requires 5 passes on the Eritrean Secondary Education Certificate Examination (ESECE). It offers 2- and 3-year Diploma and 3-year Advanced Diploma programs.

Bachelor's degree programs are 4-5 years. Master's degree programs were introduced in 2004. They are 2 years and require a bachelor's degree and sufficient scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Doctoral programs are not offered in Eritrea.

First Cycle, Vocational/Technical

Post-secondary technical/vocational education is offered at the Asmara Commercial College and the Asmara Technical Institute. They offer 2- and 3-year Diploma and 3-year Advanced Diploma programs in technical and professional fields.

Third Cycle

Orotta School of Medicine, which was established in 2003, offers a 6-year Doctorate in Medicine program. Admission requires 5 passes on the Eritrean Secondary Education Certificate Examination/ESECE and sufficient scores on an admission examination.

Teacher Training

Primary school teachers are trained at teacher training institutes in a 1-year program leading to a Teacher Training Institute Certificate. Admission requires an Eritrean Secondary Education Certificate Examination (ESECE) and sufficient scores on an entrance examination. Junior and senior secondary school teachers must hold bachelor's degree from the College of Education at the University of Asmara.



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