16 September 2010

Ethiopia: Govt Makes Good Progress on Education Goals

Photo: Tom Maruko
A Liberian student holds a trophy the school won in a government-sponsored spelling bee.

Access to education in Ethiopia has improved considerably, with primary  school enrolment increasing more than 500 percent between 1994 and 2009,  a new Overseas Development Institute report shows.

The organisation is an independent British think tank focusing on  international development and humanitarian issues. The report cites a number of factors that resulted in the country's success.

"Benefiting from sustained growth, the Ethiopian government, in  partnership with donors, has invested heavily in improving access to education," it said. "Key measures have included abolishing school fees, increasing expenditure on school construction and maintenance and hiring
and training thousands of new teachers, administrators and officials.

"This has been complemented by a shift to mother tongue instruction and by the gradual decentralisation of the education system to progressively  lower administrative levels. This has likely contributed to improved service delivery."

The goverment has also focused on increasing the number of girls at school, as well as children from rural areas and pastoral communities.

While the country's achievements have been considerable, the report adds, "low levels of education quality remain one of the most significant challenges in improving learning outcomes."

The publication is based on research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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