- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education launched the new READ II project to improve the reading and writing skills of 15 million children in grades 1-8.
The five-year, $86 million READ II project will build on successful partnerships forged between USAID and the Ministry of Education to improve primary-level reading skills by getting children to begin reading in their mother tongues, helping teachers to become better instructors of reading and supplying schools with supplementary reading materials. The project will work with the ministry to refine and finalize a comprehensive reading package; develop a framework to align reading policies, initiatives, procedures, and resources; and bring together schools, communities, and education authorities to scale-up this program nationwide.
The USAID READ II project is also aligned with the broader General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP/E), and will provide training to more than 130,000 teachers in 20,000 schools across Addis Ababa, Amhara, Oromia, Somali, and SNNP regional states during the course of the project.
During the launch event at Bakello Primary School, U.S. Ambassador Michael A. Raynor said, "The better educated young Ethiopians are, the better prepared they will be to ensure their own success and to help build the democratic, prosperous, and stable Ethiopia we all want to see."
The U.S. has helped Ethiopia's education sector on a whole range of activities: from helping to found universities, to supporting the hundreds of professors who have participated in academic and professional exchanges such as the Fulbright and Humphrey's programs, to supporting English language learning opportunities such as the English Access Micro-scholarship program for underprivileged Ethiopian youth, to building approximately 850 alternative education centers in remote villages, to printing millions of books to support reading.
The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia and has invested more than $3.5 billion in development and humanitarian assistance over the past five years to help people across the country lead healthier and more prosperous lives.