Prior to 1974, Ethiopia had an estimated illiteracy rate well above 90% and compared poorly with the rest of Africa in the provision of schools and universities. After the 1974 revolution, emphasis was placed on increasing literacy in rural areas. Practical subjects were stressed, as was the teaching of socialism. Education received roughly 13% of the national budget in 1992. By 1995 the rate of illiteracy had dropped substantially to 64.5%. Projected adult illiteracy rates for the year 2000 stand even lower at 61.3% (males, 56.1%; females, 66.6%). As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4.3% of GDP.
Public education is compulsory and free at the primary level. In 1997, elementary schools had a total enrollment of 4,007,694 pupils in 10,256 schools with 92,775 teachers. At the secondary level in 1997, there were 889,650 pupils with 25,402 teachers. As of 1999, 31% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school. Addis Ababa University (formerly Haile Selassie I University) has extension centers in Alemaya, Gonder, Awasa, Bahir-Dar, and Debre Zeyit. The University of Asmera is a Roman Catholic institution. In 1997, post-secondary institutions had a total of 42,226 pupils.