Adult And Continuous Education Sector

Adult and Non-Formal Education

Why Adult and Non-Formal Education is a priority?


It is apparent that adult and non-formal education is an indispensable trajectory for social, economic and political progress in any society.

The economic role of adult education in development is apparent in its contribution to human capital formation. It is clear that, alongside with health care, sanitation, and nutrition that improve people’s standard of living and productivity by reducing sickness and mortality rates and by increasing life expectancy, adult basic education, by equipping recipients with essential literacy and numeracy skills, yields high rates on investment, thereby enhancing labor productivity.

An educated population also provides a more attractive investment climate. Thus, investment in the development of human capital, through adult education, is crucial for developing skilled labor force that can be able to compete in today’s national and global economy at large.

Adult and non-formal education is also instrumental in familiarizing youth and adults with Information Communication Technology (ICT), a decisive tool for increasing productivity.


The role of adult education in development is not limited only to the economic and social spheres. It also has a political dimension. There is a strong link between adult learning and democracy. For democracy to be achieved, adult education is needed to educate citizens(especially youth and adults) on the democratic culture as well as to inform them of their rights and responsibilities.

Cognizant to the above points, the Ethiopian government has been given strong emphasis to the area of adult and non-formal education.  It’s true that, there is a high level of illiteracy in Ethiopia. This becomes a barrier to achieving the SDGs and the country’s dream of becoming a middle-income level country by 2025. 


It should be noted that, in 2017 the Central Statistical Agency Welfare Monitoring Survey Report estimated that there are about 21‚047‚152 (46.21%) million illiterate youth and adults aged 15-60 only. Of these, 57.8% (13‚758‚043) are females and the remaining are males. In the ESDP V period only 4.4 million youth and adults have been graduated from the two years IFAE program. There remains a target group of 17 million illiterate youth and adults’ subject to be enrolled and becomes literate in the ESDP VI period.

Hence, in the ESDP VI period, the following six components have been endorsed for youth and adult and non-formal education sector. These are:-

  1. Expanding youth and adult skill education and training programs in all regions.
  2. Improving women’s participation in adult and non-formal education programs.
  3. Expanding continuing education programs(evening and distance) in all regions
  4. Expanding Non-formal short-term vocational skills training for youth and adults
  5. Improving access of Alternative Basic Education programs to Over-aged out of school Children.
  6. Institutionalization of adult and non-Formal Education programs at all levels.

In order to execute all the above mentioned points, various bold decisions have been made by the Ministry of Education. Revise the existing ANFE structure is one among others. It should also be noted that, the delivery of ANFE programs requires various governmental and non-governmental service providers in multiple settings in order to meet the entire target set by the government in both the 10 years and five years plan of ANFE  in general.