Ethiopia has different strides in the past two decades. One of these is the education sector where a significant change has taken place in all aspects. Primary education is critical to a nation’s development, providing on average the highest public returns to investment for the state, and is the bedrock for later education and economic growth. In Ethiopia, primary education, defined as eight years in duration, is conducted from grades 1-8 and implemented in two cycles, primary 1st cycle and primary second cycle offering basic and general primary education to prepare students for further general education and training.
The percentage of total enrollment in primary schools, irrespective of age, out of the corresponding primary school age population, ages 7-14 and is a crude measure of school coverage. Usually, since it includes under aged and over-aged pupils, GER can be higher than 100 percent, and frequently is in countries attempting to address the backlog of students interested in attending school, but previously unable to because of financial need, family issues, or lack of schools or infrastructures and other social affairs.
The 2001 nationally stood at 94.2 percent, the gender gap got closer with girls behind by 6.9 percent. which was is a good achievement in Ethiopian education system though gender disproportion was higher in Benishangul-Gumuz, Harari, and Gambella, which were 30, 22, and 20 percent respectively. For 2002 E.C (2009/10) the GER at national level was 93.4 percent, a slight decrease in GER from the prior year and the gender gap reduced with girls behind by 6.5 percent.
Regionally, variation higher in Benishangul- Gumuz, Harari, and Gambella, at 28, 18, and 15 percentage points correspondingly. Also, the GER at national level for 2003 E.C (2010/11) was 96.4%, increased by 3 percent and the countrywide gender disparity became 6.3 percent though it was higher in Benishangul- Gumuz, Harari, Gambella, SNNP, and Oromiya 30, 16, 14, 13, and 11 percentage points respectively.
Likewise, for 2005 E.C (2012/13) the national GER was 95.3% percent and the gender gap increased from 5% of previous year to 5.8 percent with the annual enrollment growth rate of 2.9 percent and the gender disparity remained less for Tigray, Amhara, Addis Ababa and Somali but higher for Benishangul-Gumuz, Harari, SNNP, Oromiya and Gambella as it was graphed on the abstract.
By the same token, the national GER for 2006 (2013/14) was 101.3 % that shows a slight incremental pattern. The gender gap still remained consistent nationally that is 6.5 % in the year 2002 (2009/10) and 6.8% percentage points in 2006 (2013/14). In this academic year, the GER nationally has increased by 2.8%. The higher average annual growth rate was registered in Afar and Amhara, which was 5.0%, and 4.3% respectively. The average annual growth rate had decreased for Diredawa and Oromiya.
Equally, the number of students who got the chance to attend primary education in 2007 (2014/15) has reached 102.7 percent nationally with a slight annual increment of 1.4 percent. Again there is wide regional variation in GER with Addis Ababa and Gambella having a GER of 151 percent, indicating that a high proportion of students were enrolled in primary education in these regions who are not of the official age (between 7-14). Dire Dawa had a low GER, at 67.5%, indicating that a large proportion of the 7-14 population was not attending primary school.
Generally male enrolment is higher than female by 8.6 percent, except in Addis Ababa where female
enrollment was 25 percentage points higher than male enrollment. As well, for the year 2008 (2015/16), the primary education GER was 108.7 percent which indicated that children younger than 7 and older than 14 were enrolled into primary schools though the target in the year was 93 percent female. Gambella and Addis Ababa have very high GERs both over 140 percent. Addis Ababa is the only region where female GER is higher than male GER at 159.6 percent.
This leveling effect may mean that many of the really ready children have now been “captured” by the system, and the next incremental upsurges in Primary GER will become a bit more difficult to accomplish. Alike to the GER, Net Enrollment Rate (NER) at primary level is the best way of measuring organized on-time school participation and is a more refined indicator of school and enrollment coverage in terms of explaining the proportion of pupils enrolled from the official age group.
NER is calculated by dividing the number of properly aged primary students (for Ethiopia ages 7-14) by the number of children of school going age (7-14). NER is usually lower than the GER since it excludes over-aged and under-aged pupils. The steady national increase in NER from 1999 (2006/07) to 2008 (2015/16) was by 21 .2 and the NERs of the consecutive academic years were between 79.1 and 100.3 respectively that indicates, students joining school at properly aged primary students. As well as the above two education coverage performance indicators, Gender Parity Index (GPI) is the indicator of gender equality in the coverage. It is defined as female gross enrollment ratio divided by male gross enrollment ratio for all levels. GPI is an important indicator of balanced programs to boost enrollment and participation of girls in education.
No nation has been able to achieve comprehensive basic education without programs that assist girls. Note that GPI is used to measure the level of equity between boys and girls. In a situation of equality between boys and girls the gender parity index (GPI) is 1, whereas with highest inequality it is close to 0. As it was presented on the annual abstract of the ministry, the national GPI for the academic years from 1 999 (2006/07) to 2008 (201 5/1 6) were between 0.87, and 0.95.
In this ten consecutive academic years, Addis Ababa was the only region in the country that has over 1.18 GPI and currently GPI 1.2 that indicated more girls attended primary school than boys, which is very different from the other regions and specifies that more boys are leaving school to work within the capital whilst girls are more likely to stay in education.