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Bulletin on Academic Freedom in Africa


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14 April 2014
Zeynabou Kane

Education under attack: Ethiopia

Arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment and torture of university students, particularly of Oromo ethnicity, were documented, as were surveillance and intimidation of teacher trade unionists.


Since the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of ethnic-based parties, came to power in 1991, students – particularly Oromo students who are actual or perceived supporters of the insurgent Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) or of registered Oromo political parties – have frequently been the targets of excessive use of force by state security, as well as arbitrary arrests and mistreatment in detention. Since disputed elections in 2005, the government has increasingly curtailed all forms of freedom of expression, association and assembly, and arrested members of the opposition. In 2008, the Ethiopian Teachers’ Association was replaced by a pro-government union following the killing of its deputy secretary-general, the imprisonment of other officials, and the detention and torture of activists. Net primary school enrolment was estimated at 78 per cent, while gross secondary enrolment was 36 per cent and gross tertiary enrolment was 8 per cent (2011). Approximately 39 per cent of adults were literate (2007).

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