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Ethiopia: Ethiopia Education Profile



Education in Ethiopia has been dominated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church for many centuries until secular education was adopted in the early 1900s. Prior to 1974, Ethiopia had an estimated illiteracy rate well above 90% and compared poorly with the rest of Africa in the provision of schools and universities. After the 1974 revolution, emphasis was placed on increasing literacy in rural areas. Practical subjects were stressed, as was the teaching of socialism. Education received roughly 13% of the national budget in 1992. By 1995 the rate of illiteracy had dropped substantially to 64.5%. Projected adult illiteracy rates for the year 2000 stand even lower at 61.3% (males, 56.1%; females, 66.6%). As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4.3% of GDP.The current system follows very similar school expansion schemes to the rural areas as the previous 1980s system with an addition of deeper renationalisation giving rural education in their own languages starting at the elementary level. The sequence of general education in Ethiopia is eight years of primary school, two years of lower secondary school and two years of higher secondary school.

Current system

The Higher Education Institutions Board reviews and adapts the plans and budgets of each institution. The universities have senates, which fall in between the boards and the academic commissions in their powers and duties. Each of these administrative bodies creates various committees to assist their duties. The academic commission (AC) of each college faculty deliberates on and submits proposals about programs, plans, courses, certification, promotions, and students' status. The department councils are composed of all full-time academic staff and chaired by the department heads. The council prepares and submits recommendations to the AC concerning programs of study, curricula, courses, staff promotion, research projects, teaching materials, and examinations.

Higher education institutions recruit their own staff based on certain criteria. Once employed, the teachers are assessed at the end of each semester (twice a year) by their students, colleagues, and the department chief. The teacher must receive an above average rating to continue their employment. Contracts are renewed each 2 years. Those teachers whose performance falls below average for 2 consecutive semesters will not have their contracts renewed. In the completed 5 years, a few contracts have been terminated due to low evaluations by students at the AAU.

Salaries of faculty are based on their ranks. There are six fee scales and next two years of service a teacher will go up to the next rank. Before all were paid the same and there was no incentive. Thus the new plan was each two years teachers receive a pay increase. A good teacher can be promoted each 2 or 3 years and has pay increments each year. As a consequence teachers are presently highly motivated. A lot of instructors complain that their salaries are still too low. The output of trained teachers at all levels in 1997 was about 7,000 per year

The Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES), the initial research unit in the country, was established in 1963. In 1999, there were six well-established research units within HEIs; the IES, the Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center (under the Alemaya University of Agriculture), Geophysical Observatory, Institute of Development Research, Institute of Educational Research, and Institute of Pathobiology. The scientific and professional journals published by research institutes, professional associations, or colleges include: Bulletin of Chemistry, Ethiopian Journal of Agriculture, Ethiopian Journal of Development Research, Ethiopian Journal of Education, Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, Ethiopian Medical Journal, Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Journal, Journal of Ethiopian Law, Journal of Ethiopian Studies, SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science, and ZEDE: Journal of the Association of Ethiopian Engineers and Architects.

The journals associated with the AAU are assessed each 2-3 years by a committee composed of 7 members from various disciplines. The funds for the research work come from the government budget and donors. Higher education in Ethiopia has been financed mainly by the government. The funds for the capital and recurrent expenses are provided to institutions through the Ministry of Finance. About 12% of the education budget is set aside for higher education. Out of the recurrent budget, about 50% is allocated for salaries. Ethiopian tuition fees have been increasing over the years. The fees for foreign students are about double. The admission rate for women has been only about 15% for the completed several years up to 1999. Some efforts have been made to improve the rate of admission by lowering the admission cut-off grade point by 0.2 (for example, admitting boys with 3.0 and girls with 2.8 GPA to the same program). This affirmative action has improved women's admission rate, but has not resulted in significant changes; the attrition rate of this group is higher than average.

Most women are as well enrolled in social and pedagogical sciences and in diploma programs. Out of the total of 864 graduate students, only 62 (7.18%) were women. Engineering, agriculture, and pharmacy had the least female enrollment. In the completed several years, new private colleges have been accredited by the Ministry of Education. The four officially recognized colleges are: Unity University College in Addis Ababa, Alfa College of Distance Education and People to People College in Harar, and Awassa Adventist College. The total government budget for education has increased by 84%. In attempt to provide education for all, huge expansion of education through the construction of new schools was initiated close to the communities they serve. Next regionalisation was introduced in 1993, almost all Ethiopians had the right to education in their own languages at ,ghndĹlum texts, although vetted by the Ministry of Education, are devised by the educational bureaus in regional states in order to ensure their appropriateness to the diverse cultures of Ethiopia. Social awareness programs to teach that education is vital was set up to combat cultural and historical barriers. Regional government has had a role to play in reviewing and reinvigorating education in the primary and secondary sectors, but higher education remains the responsibility of central government. The government set up a new plan to establish one new university per regional national and one education college, one technology college and one medical college. The number of girls enrolled has doubled from 1996 to 2000. Most still do not have equal status with boys, but there are measures such as "positive discrimination," which are helping to right this imbalance. In 2004 UNESCO Institute for Statistics showed % of female teachers in primary education reaching 44.6 % and primary gross enrollment rate to 93.4 %. There are a growing number of private and public Universities and colleges in Ethiopia. As of 2007, the University Capacity Building Program (UCBP) to build 13 new universities is undergoing nationwide.

Foreign students

There are education facilities for Foreign Residents though foreign nationals are not accepted in the public schools of Ethiopia. However, there are completely a few private schools in Addis Ababa specifically for the children of foreign residents. Part them are Swedish Community School, Indian Community School, Bingham Academy, International Community School and others.

Core problems

Ethiopia faces a lot of historical, cultural, social and political obstacles that have restricted evolution in Education for a lot of centuries. According to UNESCO reviews, most people in Ethiopia feel that work is additional significant than education, so they start at a very early age with little to no education. Children in rural areas are less likely to go to school than children in urban areas.

Though gradually improving, most rural families cannot afford to send their children to school because parents believe that while their children are in school they cannot contribute to the household chores and gain. Social awareness that education is significant is something that Ethiopia lacks but has improved gradually. There is a need to change the importance of education in the country's social structure, and children should be encouraged and required to attend school and become educated. Corporal punishment is as well an issue that has affected evolution for centuries. The society of Ethiopia expects teachers and parents to use corporal punishment to maintain order and discipline. Most believe that through punishing children for bad habits they in turn learn good ones. As well since the mid-1970s there have been a drastic loss of professionals who leave the country, mostly for economical reasons. A lot of educated Ethiopians seek higher salaries in foreign nations thus a lot of of those who manage to finish higher education immigrate creating endless shortage of qualified personals and professionals in each sector of the country. As of 2006, there are additional Ethiopia-trained doctors living in Chicago than in all country.

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