An education roadmap that would see the Ministry of Education restructured into three components has been proposed.
The 86-page roadmap was presented with four chapters. It focuses, aside from restructuring the Ministry, on education quality, curriculum content and problems of implementation.
The roadmap focuses on reforming the role and responsibilities of government bodies in education. The suggested ministries include the Higher Education & Training Ministry, General Education Ministry and Human Resources Development Ministry.
The Higher Education & Training Ministry will deal with higher learning institutions, teachers’ education and vocational training. The General Education Ministry would deal with lower learning institutions while the Human Resources Development Ministry will be responsible for catering to people with informal education and those who have failed to graduate previously by certifying them with degrees and diplomas.
The Ministry and 1,300 representatives from the education, industry, finance, service and agricultural sectors deliberated on the roadmap for three days in the past week.
Study on the roadmap was begun two years ago. Forty-six local and international experts participated in drafting it.
“The roadmap was presented for deliberation only,” said Tirusew Tefera (Prof.), one of the team leaders that participated in the process. “The deliberation on the roadmap will eventually move to regional, zonal and wereda levels.”
The roadmap states that there is a vast difference among regions in preschool education and that accessibility has only reached 45pc. While secondary education has a slightly higher accessibility rate, it has been noted that achievements are poor.
The report also mentions that Ethiopia is one of the poorest performing countries in sub-Saharan Africa where 4.5 million youth stay home rather than attending school.
The roadmap says that the major problem with the previous policy is its emphasis on theory rather than skill development and entrepreneurship. The roadmap also depicts the education sector stakeholders as lacking in coordination and criticised the last strategy for failing to infuse shared values within society.
The new strategy is also set to remove national examinations at the 10th grade and request an additional two semesters on the current minimum university stay. The establishment of a teaching education field of study in higher learning institutions is also included.
These changes require amendments, and the Ministry is currently working on a draft proclamation beginning with that of higher education.
Draft laws will be tabled for deliberation next year, according to Yoseph Shiferaw, legal services director at the Ministry.
At the opening of the roadmap deliberation, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) said that failures in other sectors emanate from the poor education policy the country has been following.
“The current education policy undermined the local knowledge while following western education systems,” he said. “Also the policy didn’t entertain and solve its problems along the way.”
The roadmap also requests the empowerment of teachers associations and better benefits for teachers. To finance the education sector, the roadmap recommends the introduction of an education tax and increasing cost-sharing schemes.
Genet Zewude (PhD), former minister of Education argues that the current education system, despite its flaws has contributed to the development of the nation.
“Even if it has its problems, the system has led us toward the growth we are witnessing,” she said.
The current education and training policy was launched back in 1994.
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