Ethiopia has one of the lowest primary school enrolment rates and one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. In 2002 Ethiopia’s adult literacy rate was 41.5 per cent and its gross primary enrolment rate was 66 per cent, significantly worse than the average for low income countries of 63.9 per cent and 98.6 per cent respectively. Government efforts have focused on expanding access to primary education, particularly in rural areas, but as a consequence, insufficient resources have been allocated to improving the quality of education. Recent education reforms have resulted in progress towards access-related targets: the net rate of primary school enrolment increased from 35 per cent in 1997-1998 to approximately 57.4 per cent in 2003-2004. The Ministry of Education itself acknowledges that the need to allocate resources to expand coverage has diverted resources away from investment in quality-related improvements – teacher to student ratio, curricula reform, textbook to student ratio1– so the quality of schooling is likely to decrease. Completion rates in primary school remain much lower than enrolment rates.