Education in Ethiopia was dominated by the Tewahedo Church for many centuries until secular education was adopted in the early 1900s. The current system follows school expansion schemes which are very similar to the system in the rural areas during the 1980s, with an addition of deeper regionalization, providing rural education in students’ own languages starting at the elementary level, and with more budget finances allocated to the education sector. The sequence of general education in Ethiopia is six years of primary school, four years of lower secondary school and two years of higher secondary school.

Access to education in Ethiopia has improved significantly. Approximately 3 million people were in primary school in 1994/95, and by 2008/09, primary enrolment had risen to 15.5 million – an increase of over 500%. In 2013/14, the country had witnessed significant boost in gross enrolment across all regions. The national GER was 104.8% for boys, 97.8% for girls and 101.3% across both sexes.

The literacy rate has increased in recent years: according to the 1994 census, the literacy rate in Ethiopia was 23.4%. In 2007 it was estimated to be 39% (male 49.1% and female 28.9%). A report by UNDP in 2011 showed that the literacy rate in Ethiopia was 46.7%. The same report also indicated that the female literacy rate has increased from 27 to 39 percent from 2004 to 2011, and the male literacy rate has increased from 49 to 59 percent over the same period for persons 10 years and older. By 2015, the literacy rate had further increased, to 49.1% (57.2% male and 41.1% female).