In Eritrea the education follows a 5-3-4 system, where the primary school lasts for 5 years, the secondary school for 3 years and the secondary school for 4 years. While about 80% of the country’s population was illiterate at the end of the liberation war in 1991, 69% of the population over the age of 15 could read and write in 2011.
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Education has gained a central place in the development of the country after independence in 1993. The Ministry of Education aims to be able to offer primary education to all, to increase educational opportunities at all levels and to implement a comprehensive adult education program.
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Children start school the year they turn seven. The primary and secondary schools are in principle free and compulsory. Nevertheless, only 47% of children started primary school in 2011, and only 33% were enrolled in secondary school.
Higher education is offered at technical colleges, colleges and the University of Asmara. The length of higher education varies from one to four years. An academic year consists of 200 teaching days and is divided into semesters. In the lowlands, six days a week are taught so that the school year ends before the very hot summer season (June-September).
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Asmara, Asmera, Eritrea’s capital and largest city approximately 2300 masl; 649,000 residents (2009). Founded in 1897 as the capital of the Italian colony of Eritrea, Asmara is located in the relatively cool climate of the highlands, centrally between the port city of Massawa and the important agricultural areas to the west. The beautiful city was largely spared during the 30-year civil war, which ended in 1991, and it has retained an Italian feel.