Education Quality Gets a Guardian


Six donors donated the amount to improve quality of education in the country




Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a project under the World Bank, had promised to pledge 100 million dollars to join hands in an effort to improve the quality of education in the country, which has been of concern, particularly elementary education.

Towards this effort, six donors have pledged a total of 454 million dollars, with the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank donating the lion’s share of 300 million dollars and the Department for International Development (DFID) extended 117 million dollars.  The Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contributed the balance of the pledge.

“We are working to bring more quality to the education sector,” said Elias Girma, Plan and Resource Mobilisation Director at Ministry of Education (MoE). “There is a shortage of teachers due to high turnover RATES of teachers.”

The country allocates 26pc of the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) toward education with the lion’s share going to higher education. Currently, the nation has over 38,000 kindergartens, primary and secondary public schools, and 46 universities. In the private sector, there are over 3,200 schools and 130 higher learning institutions. These schools provide education for 28 million students. In the past decade, over 140 million books were distributed across the country.

However, a recent evaluation by the Ministry of Education in regards to the quality of education reveals that only 0.064pc of schools scored over 90 points, 10.3pc of the schools got 70 to 89, 25.6pc of schools scored below 50 points and 64.1 pc of schools were between 50- 69pc.

Though the country has a compulsory policy of offering primary education in ‘nationality languages,’ many issues need to be addressed in the policy, according to Sajitha Bashir, Practice Manager of Education Global Practice under the World Bank.

“There are still a large number of children that are out of school and other substantive quality issues exist,” Sajitha said.

About 18pc of students drop out at an early age with only about 60pc attending high schools, according to a report conducted by the Education Global Practice. The report also reveals that poor transitions from grades five and six to the next levels is a bottleneck in the nation’s education system.

A considerable number of students in Ethiopia enrol in grade one but very few reach grades five and six for various reasons, according to Education Global Practice. The language barrier, unfavourable learning environments and problem in student progression are among the causes of the high drop-out rates, according to the same report.

By the end of grade two students are expected to read about 46 words fluently and they are supposed to be proficient in reading complete paragraphs at the end of grade four, according to standards set by Education Global Practice.

“But this is one of the difficulties we observe,” Sajitha said.

Abebaw Minaye (PhD), coordinator of the Developmental, Social and Organizational Psychology at Addis Abeba University, believes that early stages of childhood schooling are fundamental.

“Working on the quality of education in the early grade has a significant impact,” Abebaw told Fortune. “The education system should also work on bringing competent teachers on-board.”



By YONATAN BELAY
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Jun 24,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 948]


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