Eritrea Children and School

Do the children go to school in Eritrea?

According to the government, children should actually go to school in Eritrea between the ages of seven and 13. But that’s only one aspect. Despite this compulsory schooling, a third of the children do not go to school at all. This means primary school.

It looks even worse with attending secondary schools. Here the number of children attending such schools drops again considerably. So it is difficult for many children to even go to school.

The language of instruction is either Arabic or Tigrinya, depending on where the children go to school. In the areas where Muslims live, classes are in Arabic. English is added a little later as a foreign language in primary school.

Where is the toilet actually?

Children who go to school usually end up in classes that are far too large and poorly equipped classrooms. There they also meet poorly trained teachers. Classes often take place outside because there is no school building. You would certainly not want to go to the toilet in a school like this, because it either doesn’t exist at all or it is quite dirty because there is usually no running water.

And the girls’ schooling?

As in many other African countries, it is particularly bad for girls’ schooling. Many families are of the opinion that it is not even necessary for girls to go to school at all. You would get married later and would not need any training. Often only the sons and not the daughters of a family attend school.

Why don’t parents send their children to school?

As in many other African countries, poverty determines everyday life and people’s lives. Many people eat hand to mouth, what they grow or what their herds give for them.

Children are always workers here, without whom a family could not survive. The boys help out in the fields or with the herding of cattle and the girls help the mothers with water, with the household or with the siblings. But you can also find children at work in the city, at market stalls or as shoe cleaners or car washers.


Why are so many people fleeing Eritrea?

Many people leave their homes. No other African country is losing so many people.

Strict government in Eritrea

Eritrea is ruled strictly dictatorial and with an iron hand. The Constitution of 1997 has not yet been implemented. There are no elections. There is no free press, just a single state-controlled newspaper and state broadcaster. People are afraid of expressing themselves freely. So there is great fear within the population. Nobody dares to say his or her opinion or anything critical.

All have to do military service

Eritrea still feels threatened by Ethiopia. A terrible war that lasted 30 years only ended in 1993 (see politics and history). Therefore, all residents must do military service. And the young men and women in Eritrea try to avoid this military service as much as possible.

Officially, military service does not begin until the age of 18, but 15-year-olds are also drafted, who are actually still children. Nobody knows how long to do this service. The law says it’s 18 months, but most will be forced to stay longer.

Money in the home

At the same time, the economic situation in the country is very bad. Hardly anything is produced. Eritrea could hardly exist without the payments of people living abroad. There is no work, no education for children and no hope for the future.

Fear of the state and also to escape the bad economic situation, many Eritreans pack their few belongings and flee to Europe on dangerous routes. Your goals are Germany, but also Switzerland or Sweden. That is understandable. On the other hand, the young and courageous people needed to rebuild the country are missing.

Eritrea Schools

About the author