IIE's HER Program Releases New Impact Report

IIE’s Higher Education Readiness Program Shows Remarkable Results in Increasing Higher Education Enrollment for Ethiopian Girls 

Addis Ababa and New York, May 11, 2017 – With less than four percent of Ethiopian girls staying in school through 11th grade and even fewer going on to higher education, there is a serious gender gap in Ethiopia that threatens not only the status of girls and women in society, but also their ability to contribute to the county’s workforce and economic development.  Two new reports from the Institute of International Education (IIE) suggest highly effective ways to change this trajectory.

IIE has just concluded a three year Higher Education Readiness (HER) program designed to address this urgent need, providing scholarships and academic support and counseling to two groups of 100 female students selected in consecutive years from two upper secondary schools: Addis Ketema and Fitawrari Addis Ababa. A thorough program evaluation, tracking the progress of these two groups of girls compared to control groups of their peers, details the significant impact of these resources on the girls and their families.  Among the pilot group of 100 girls, an impressive 89 percent of the students were enrolled in higher education, one year after graduating from secondary school, and 100 percent of those girls who went on to university have successfully completed their first year there.  The second group of 100 girls showed even more remarkable results, with 98 percent of the students enrolling in higher education. 

HER Impacts in School and Beyond and HER Future in University , now available for download on IIE’s website, include detailed breakdowns on these results and describe best practices and lessons learned in providing support services to each of the groups. The findings of these reports will be of interest not only to educators, but to funders and policy-makers seeking to increase academic performance, leadership, and secondary school graduation rates and enhance the pathway to higher education.

The reports capture changes in the students’ social and life skills, as well as more familial and community support for the girls’ educational and career goals. The students said that HER trainings in school built their confidence, leadership, initiative, independence and other transferable skills, which have propelled them into higher education and inspired them to pursue professional careers.

Among other significant findings:

  • HER students passed and scored on the country’s college entry exam at rates 32% higher than that of students who did not participate in the program, and 20% higher than the national rate for all girls in Ethiopia. 
  • Among the HER alumnae who failed the National Exam for entry into free government-funded universities, more than 65 percent of the first group and 90 percent of the second group managed to find other opportunities to continue to higher education or vocational programs.

In addition to direct impact on the academic lives of HER students, the program also helped to build awareness of and familial support for the girls to pursue their academic and professional goals.

  • 95% of girls participate more in household decision-making as a result of the program trainings.

  • Over 80% of parents said that their communication with HER students about their academics and future plans changed as a result of the HER program.

  • 79% of parents offered more encouragement and moral support to their female children

  • 74% of parents ensured the girls have enough study time at home and 63% of parents reduced the number of household activities for the students 

“More than anything, HER program changed my parents’ attitude about my education,” said a HER alumna during a focus group.

HER graduating student presenting her group's poster on community impact of the HER program, July 2016


About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. Our international approach to education—diverse, borderless, impactful—is a proven way for governments and companies to invest in global talent and solidify overseas relationships. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide, including in Addis Ababa, and over 1,300 member institutions. Visit www.iie.org.

IIE’s Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact provides research and program evaluation services to domestic and international governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, foundations, and higher education institutions to facilitate the collection of more comprehensive and policy-relevant data on international education, and to assess the impact of international fellowship and scholarship programs.