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Addis is losing!

The Reporter (Addis Ababa)
November 17, 1999
By Tewedaj Kebede

Addis Ababa - Recently a symposium on the assessment of educational activities of the regions held in Dire Dawa. Unexpectedly enough, it is the capital city of the country that has registered low marks in the educational performance of its students.

Addis Ababa's educational performance was found to be the lowest among all regions during the past Ethiopian year. This news was beyond belief for teachers, students and society at large.

The reason given by region 14 administration was that teachers were abandoning schools and that an increasing number of illegal private schools are mushrooming.

After the symposium, schools of region 14 held a conference to discuss the problem about the weakness and to find a solution to it. Region 14's very feeble argument during the assessment angered most teachers.

"How on earth does Addis Ababa, with better schools, facilities and instructors, show the least performance among all regions in Ethiopia," complained a teacher who could not believe his ears. And so do lots of other teachers.

What most teachers complained about and did not get a satisfactory response to was that the new teaching-learning process brought about the weakness. They said that the new curriculum was beyond the capacity of the students and adequate training of teachers; for the new teaching style (a system that forces one teacher to teach all subjects from grade one to four) was not implemented by the Ministry of Education.

They said that the policy was "imposed" upon the students as well as teachers so that they need more time to bring about a better quality of education. What is more, they said that school directors are mostly political personalities who are trying to control the activities of the teachers. They had no knowledge how to administer schools.

Ato Shimeles Letike, Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Education, said that the reason for the poor quality was that Addis did not show an increase in the quality of education as expected when compared with other regions. And this, he said, implied that Addis did not prove to be a model for other regions.

He added that the measures found for the failure of region 14 was that it showed a decrease by 1 percent, i.e. during 1997/98 fiscal year's educational assessment. The region showed 88 percent progress, and this year it showed 87 percent. Benshangul showed very good progress from 64 percent in 1997/8 to 80.5 percent in 1998/9 year's performance, he said. He also cited Gambela reaching 74 percent and Harari reaching 91.5 percent. These two former so-called "backward regions" have shown a progress compared to their access to educational facilities, he added.

However, there seemed no convincing reason for Addis Ababa's poor educational performance, said the teachers. If teachers are leaving schools, then there must be some reason why, and this was the problem of the Ministry of Education.

In addition, the mushrooming of private schools cannot be a reason for lower performance because government schools have more than 80 students in a class. However, the reason for Addis Ababa's failure of the learning-teaching process seems to be unacceptable by almost all teachers in Addis Ababa.

Region 14 Educational Bureau must, therefore, re-examine the problem through discussions with educational officials and experts.

Copyright (c) 1999 The Reporter. Distributed via Africa News Online ( For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.

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