Education in Ethiopia has been ranked among the worst in the world for much of its history. Now, the government is looking to reverse the de-escalating state of its education system. The state of Ethiopia has recognized the importance of mathematics and science education. Thus, an emphasis is being put on the improvement of these sectors.
Seeking Education Improvements
Mathematics and science classes have been historically ineffective in Ethiopian classrooms. This is due to teacher-centered methods of teaching, which makes the students passive participants.
Recently, the Ethiopian government has taken the initiative to partner with the Japanese government to seek education system improvements. From 2011 to 2014, the Japan International Cooperation (JICA) implemented a project known as ‘Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education in Ethiopia’ (SMASEE). This project worked to improve these types of classes for grades seven and eight.
JICA successfully trained 2,300 teachers in different states throughout Ethiopia with In-Service Teacher Training (INSET). Since the three-year JICA project, the same method has been used in grades four and 10. The work being done by JICA and the Ethiopian government has already led to education system improvements, including a more student-centered classroom setting. Students now have more opportunities to be active participants in class discussions.
Encouraging Education for All
Similar to JICA, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Food Programme (WFP) has worked with the Ethiopian government to provide meals for 500,000 students. This feeding program has helped improve the quality of education students are receiving in Ethiopia. They can now more easily focus in the classroom due to improved nutrition.
The lack of education most severely impacts Ethiopian girls, so in 2002, WFP worked with the Ethiopian government to introduce the Special Girls’ Initiative. This program encourages young girls to attend school and provides them with desirable food items such as vegetable oil in exchange for attending class.
Although Ethiopia has a long way to go, the government’s work with groups like JICA and WFP has led to several education system improvements that benefit Ethiopia’s poor, young girls and other students who previously lack education opportunities.
– Kassidy Tarala