UN says children in Ethiopia’s Somali region excluded from school

A new report by the United Nations children’s fund (Unicef) says up to 95.5 percent of pre-primary age children in Ethiopia’s Somali region are excluded.

“Pre-primary education is foundational for our children’s success in primary and secondary education and beyond,” said Gillian Mellsop, Unicef’s representative for Ethiopia.

“Yet too many children in Ethiopia are denied this opportunity. This increases their risk of repeating grades or dropping out of school altogether and relegates them to the shadows of their more fortunate peers.”

The report said only 4.5 per cent of children in Ethiopia’s Somali Region and 14 per cent in the Afar Region are enrolled in schools.

Addis Ababa and Tigray have the highest gross enrolments rates at 93 per cent and 88 per cent respectively, the report showed.

The report, titled A World Ready to Learn: Prioritizing quality early childhood education, shows that children enrolled in at least one year of pre-primary education are more likely to develop the critical skills they need to succeed in school.

According to the World Bank, Ethiopia is “one of the most educationally disadvantaged countries in the world”.