Ethiopia: UNHCR Ethiopia: Education Factsheet (March 2018)

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Ethiopia

The number of refugee children in primary schools has increased from 118,275 in 2016/17 academic year to 132,563 in 2017/18, bringing elementary school gross enrolment rate to 72%, against the government’s Pledge target of 75%.

Refugee student’s enrolment rate in secondary education has increased from 9% in 2016/17 academic year to 12% in 2017/18.

2,300 refugees are enrolled in tertiary education compared to 1,600 during the previous academic year.


  • Despite the country’s expressed reservation to the provision of education within the 1951 Refugee Convention, refugee children in Ethiopia are afforded equitable access to formal schooling on a par with nationals in elementary schools. The government is expanding this opportunity further in line with one of the nine pledges it made at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in September 2016 in New York. Accordingly, the Government has committed to “increase enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education to all qualified refugees without discrimination and within the available resources”. Since the government of Ethiopia made its pledges in September 2016, primary school enrolment rate increased by 20%.

  • UNHCR’s principal government counterpart – ARRA- manages primary education in all refugee camps while secondary education is implemented by NGO partners.

  • 54619 (63%) of 87,004 children aged 3-6 years are supported in 80 Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centers within refugee camps, and 150 private and public kindergartens in Addis Ababa. In addition, 132,563 children between the ages of seven and 14 are enrolled in 58 primary schools and 20 Alternative Basic Education centers (ABE) in the camps, together with 166 schools in urban areas.

  • 7,665 (12%) of 62,106 secondary school age children (aged between 15 and 18 yrs) are enrolled in nine camp-based secondary schools, 10 government-run schools near the refugee camps and 43 government and private-owned secondary schools in urban areas.

  • 2,300 qualified refugee students are studying in different universities and colleges in Ethiopia, with 1,700 (74%) of them sponsored by the Government of Ethiopia. The balance are sponsored by the DAFI Scholarship, supported by the Government of Germany.

  • UNHCR is engaged in three Special Education Projects; Educate A Child (EAC), funded by the Education Above All Foundation, focusing on the provision of quality primary education for out-of-school children; IKEA Foundation, a broadly earmarked funding by the IKEA Foundation targeting Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Primary and Secondary Education, Alternative Basic Education (ABE), Vocational Skills Training (VST) and Adult Literacy, and Education Cannot Wait (ECW), mainly serving primary and secondary education in the Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, a joint project of the Ministry of Health (MOE), ARRA, UNHCR, and UNICEF.