May 02,2000


Distance Education to Begin for 5-8 Grade Teachers


ADDIS ABABA, May 2 (WIC) Preparations have been finalized for launching a programme of distance education aimed at enhancing the capacity of 5-8 grade teachers, the Minister of Education said.


Woizero Genet Zewdie, the Minister, told Abiotawi Democracy that the beneficiaries of the programme are 5-8 grade teachers who are holding certificates in teaching in line with the new educational and training policy.


The Ministry said the summer courses that used to be given for these teachers in the last three years were not adequate and hence the need for launching the distance education programme.


Woizero Genet said the practice of giving summer courses every year at the Kotebe Teachers' College or in other institutions, besides taking a very long time, cannot also benefit all teachers.


She also disclosed that Indian experts have already started making the essential material preparations for the distance educational programme. The Minister said the teachers will obtain the lessons while on their job.


According to the Minister, this decision to start distance education for 5-8 grade teachers is part of the government's programme of enhancing the capacity of elementary school teachers thereby improving the quality of education.


Woizero Genet said there are sufficient number of teachers for 1-4 grades but these require retraining. The Minister added that a participatory and attractive teaching methodology has also been launched in co-operation with UNICEF in Schools in Dire Dawa, Harar, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambela and Amhara states.


Asked to comment on complaints against self-contained educational programme for 1-4 grade, the Minister said this educational approach in intended only to facilitate the implementation of the new educational policy. She said this approach has two advantages Psychological and economic. While educating children with one teacher creates a family atmosphere for the

children and help them to more easily be acclimatized to the school environment, this method also carries economic significance because it facilitates the utilization of existing teachers more economically.


According to Woizero Genet, the self-contained approach is not as unpopular as some allege and it is being widely implemented in Dire Dawa, Harar, Benishangul Gumuz, Amhara and Oromia while preparations are being made in Tigray to launch it.


Woizero Genet also said the decision to stop secondary education at 10th grade has been made in consideration of the need to prepare students for various specializations after giving them general education until the 10th grade. It is not wise to give academic education until 12th grade and letting the students go it alone after that, she said, adding that a total of 150 vocational

and technical institutions have been prepared for accepting those students that are educated until the 10th grade.