In 1999, less than half of the school-aged children in Ethiopia were attending primary school. In 2010, the number increased to 87 percent. As a result, literacy rates have also increased.
How did education in Ethiopia grow so rapidly?
Access to Free Education
Education in Ethiopia is supported by local leaders and community members. Regional and local leaders have more autonomy over education in their respective areas, creating an environment more conducive to community participation.
The Next Step: Training and Retaining Teachers
Now that Ethiopia has made strides in increasing access to education and involving the community, the country needs to focus on recruiting, training, deploying and retaining qualified teachers. Teachers need to be able to instruct in the mother-language and their training must equip them to meet the needs of students from a diverse range of backgrounds. While incentives can draw teachers to remote and rural areas that have the greatest need, they can also help retain teachers.
Global Education First Education Initiative
In January, Ethiopia joined the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Education (GEFE) Initiative, which recognizes the prime minister’s commitment to education in Ethiopia. Ethiopia joined the group of Champion Countries, which serve to catalyze political and financial support for education as well as advocate for GEFE. As a Champion Country, Ethiopia will work to rally other countries, particularly in Africa, towards overcoming the challenges created by education expansion.
– Haley Sklut
Sources: All Africa, Global Education First, Voice of America