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Adolescent education and learning in Ethiopia

Photo: Nathalie Bertrams/GAGE 2019


Nicola Jones
Elizabeth Presler-Marshall
Joan Hicks
Sarah Baird
Workneh Yadete
Tassew Woldehanna

Publication type:
Date: May 2019

The report on adolescent education and learning is one of a series of short reports presenting findings from baseline mixed-methods research as part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal study (2015–2024). Our research sample involves a survey with more than 6,800 adolescent girls and boys from two cohorts aged 10–12 years (younger adolescents) and 15–17 years (older adolescents), and more in-depth qualitative research with 240 adolescents and their families. The baseline data was collected in selected sites in Afar, Amhara and Oromia regional states and Dire Dawa city administration during 2017 and 2018.

We focus on adolescents’ perceptions of and experiences with accessing education and learning services in Ethiopia, paying particular attention to gender and regional differences, as well as those between adolescents with disabilities and those without.

Key findings

  • Educational aspirations: While there are marked differences between study sites due to context, overall, adolescents’ educational aspirations are high.
  • Parental support for education: Parental support appears to be growing intergenerationally; most parents reported that formal education is important for their children’s futures and that they aspire for their children to attend post-secondary education.
  • Educational access: While nearly all adolescents had been enrolled in primary school, our qualitative work found that those most at risk of dropout are those that enrolled late.
  • Quality of education:  Our qualitative study participants report that learning outcomes are low, particularly in rural areas.
  • Educational transitions: Adolescents’ transitions into secondary school are complicated by the reality that many rural students face long daily commutes or must board in town, as the scale-up of secondary schooling lags behind that of primary schooling.

Suggested citation

Jones, N., Presler-Marshall, E., Hicks, J., Baird, S., Yadete, W. and Woldehanna, T. (2019) Adolescent education and learning in Ethiopia. London: Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence.

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