Ethiopia through the Administration for Refugee and Returnees Affairs (ARRA) is working to improve the provision of education to refugees sheltering in camps in the country.
Through the activities carried out so far gross enrolment rate in primary education for refugees has reached 70.5 percent in 2017, according to ARRA.
Currently, some 177,745 refugees are enrolled in primary, secondary, pre-school, and alternative education in refugee camps in various parts of the country.
Ethiopia hosts more than 850,000 refugees mainly from Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan in 27 camps.
In an exclusive interview with ENA Communication and Public Relations Team Leader at ARRA Suleyman Ali said the primary education enrolment rate has increased by 8.5 percent compared to the previous year.
“The Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs is providing primary education, health care, protection and food for refugees. We are currently working on administering educational centers in refugee camps,” Suleyman stated.
The refugees are attending classes in 58 primary, 18 Secondary, 80 early childhood education and care (ECCE) centers, and 20 alternative basic education (ABE) learning centers.
Through the campaign conducted under the motto of “No school age child shall be out of school”, the institution has managed to ensure some 20,573 new enrolments in 2017, he added.
Construction of schools and deployment of qualified teachers are also among the activities that ARRA is engaged.
“We have also constructed additional 28 blocks of classrooms having four classes for each room and we were able to employ some 288 teachers including 139 qualified Ethiopian nationals. We were able to provide training for these teachers,” he stated.
In its effort to improve educational access for refugees, ARRA is cooperating with international organizations such as save the children.
Education in Emergency Team Leader at Save the Children, Abera Mekonen told ENA that efforts are being exerted to improve refugees’ access to education in collaboration with the government and other stakeholders.
The support covers childhood care, early childhood education, primary education and alternative basic education.
“Education is very important even in emergency, it is a sign of stability, and school is a centre of safety and protection.”
Mentioning that the demand for classrooms is increasing, he stressed on the need to build more temporary learning spaces.
“We must have expanded certain class rooms that the teachers could handle to make a change in quality. It is very critical because unless. We focus on individual child; unless the teacher focus on individual child it is difficult to maintain quality.”
Moreover he said “We are working in collaboration with the government, key stakeholders and other development partners to create more spaces, we need more teachers and we need more materials.”
In addition to enabling refugees attend primary education; ARRA has also been working on secondary and tertiary school programs for refugees by providing scholarships.
The government has provided scholarship for refugees mainly Eritreans since 2010; however, the program was opened for refugees from South Sudan and Somalia since in 2012, according to ARRA.
Some 2,386 refugees have so far joined public universities through government scholarship program.
In 2017 alone, some 514 refugees have joined public universities through the program.
In addition, refugees are also attending technical and vocational education in Addis Ababa and Shire. A total of 6,773 refugees have so far enrolled in TVET schools.
Ethiopia is home to the world’s 5th largest refugee population, hosting more than 850,000 refugees.
SOURCE: Ethiopia News Agency