The government of Eritrea’s decision to centralize the nation’s 12th grade level at Sawa, the military training camp, has resulted in a disproportionately large male population. According to a source, the female student population at Sawa High School is “no more than 5 out of 100.”
In the current academic year, an estimated 10,000 students are enrolled in 12th grade. Each student has already been assigned an enlistment serial number and has been organized, military-style, to platoons, battalions and brigades.
As reported in previous editions of Gedab News, when the government first announced its policy, female student enrollments at the 11th grade plummeted, with many parents hiding their female children. At the time, the government had not announced the names of the soldiers killed in action in the border wars and many parents were concerned that their children who were being called for a one-year education may not come back for 3-4 years.
In previous years, there had also been alleged cases of widespread sexual harassments and unplanned pregnancies and even rape. Parents want firmer reassurances from the government that their children will be protected from sexual predators, some of whom were reportedly military officers.