Program focuses on Ethiopia's teachers Grants help NC State nurture education training

NC State University, Bulletin Online

February 18, 2000

Program focuses on Ethiopia’s teachers

Grants help NC State nurture education training


More than $600,000 in grants from the Ethiopian government and an anonymous foundation will help NC State to nurture teacher training in one of Africa’s poorest nations.


Leading the program are Dr. Lawrence M. Clark, professor of mathematics, science and technology education, and Solomon Abraham, an NC State doctoral student in mathematics education and mathematics instructor at North Carolina Central University.


"Universal education is one of Ethiopia’s top priorities for all of its citizens, with great emphasis on gender equity," Clark said. "This program is perceived by the Ethiopian government as a model and, if successful, may be adopted as a comprehensive program for the nation."


The project will provide Ethiopian college faculty and future grade 1-8 teachers with the opportunity to enhance their professional knowledge and skills in the teaching of mathematics, science and English. A team of nine NC State educators will offer four-to-five-week programs of subject-based teacher education to 350 pre-service teachers each summer for five years.


 It will also implement a graduate program that will aim to increase the knowledge and skills of faculty members in Ethiopian teacher-training colleges. Over five summers, 21 Ethiopian faculty members are expected to come to NC State for academic training.


"Basic education is very critical for <Ethiopia>," Clark said. "The way to build a middle class is to have a fine educational system. And you need to have a middle class if you want a country to develop its economy and increase its trade."


  The program is especially important, he said, because <Ethiopia> is still recovering from a bloody civil war, which ended in 1991. About 20 percent of the children attended school during the fighting, but enrollment has increased to 52 percent since the war.


The anonymous foundation is underwriting the effort by giving NC State $126,525 for each of the next three years ñ a total of $373,711 ñ with the possibility of continuing funding for an additional two years. The Ethiopian government will provide roughly $240,000 over the next three years to send Ethiopian students to NC State for graduate education.


 Working with Clark and Abraham on the <Ethiopia project is Dr. John Penick, head of the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education.


 The Ethiopian initiative is in keeping with NC Stateís recent history of working with educators in Africa. In the late 1980s, the university sent faculty and students to the West African nations of Togo, Benin and Ghana. In the early 1990s, Clark -- along with Dr. Edward Erickson, professor of economics; Charles Joyner, professor of art and design, and Dr. Craig Brookins, director of Africana studies -- helped developed a linkage program with three major universities in Ghana. Currently, the university is discussing linkage programs with universities in Zimbabwe