Beyond Political Rhetoric: A call to Ethiopian professionals and experts.


Beyond Political Rhetoric: A call to Ethiopian professionals and experts.


It seems that almost all Ethiopian Medias are full of comments and debates about Ethiopian politics only. I believe that all political rhetoric is necessary and important because they are especially government political system and its decisions which are the driving force to everything in the country. However, I also believe that there should be a space to debate the effect of those decisions on the country socio cultural system such as discussion not only about problems but also solutions and advices. For example, for the last few weeks Ethiopian economist have been discussing and debating about the effect of devaluation of Ethiopian birr. The discussion started after news that “the World Bank has advised Ethiopian government to devaluate Ethiopian Birr”.  The Ethiopian economists and others professionals debated and commented on the effect of devaluating the birr.  The debate taught readers the advantage and disadvantage of devaluating the birr. I strongly believe that such discussion and comments are very beneficial to our country and its citizens. I believe that the Ethiopians who contributed to the discussion have contributed to their country development. They went above and beyond the political rhetoric which dominates the Ethiopian media.


Our country Ethiopia and its citizens are facing many challenges.  Some of her challenges need to be discussed in the media. The country’s growth and development also need to be discussed, questions and concerns such as environmental, safety, regulations, fairness, equity, need to be presented. These discussions will teach and encourage citizens to do their part and for policy makers to include public inputs in their decisions. I urge all Ethiopian intellectual and professionals to discuss and comment new ideas, suggestions in there are of expertise. Ideas and concerns about socio, cultural economic relations and development of our country. We can’t sit and wait till the government solve and meet all challenges in the country. For example, I as a professional educator here in the United States like to comment about education in Ethiopia. My comments include problems in the education system and what Ethiopian government and citizens can do to address these challenges.


As an educator I observed problems in Ethiopian education system. I also read a 2010 US aid study which indicates that Ethiopian young children are not ready for school. The study indicates that almost all grades three children do not read at grade level .I strongly believe that we need to address these problems right now because our children are getting good education. They cannot become productive citizens, and will not be ready to take over the country.  I observed that school children are not learning as much as they should- classes are overcrowded, children do not have enough text and reading books, and teachers are not supported to do their job.


Ethiopian future depends on our children and education they are receiving.  I urge the government and my fellow educators and intellectuals to discuss how to address these important challenges. I suggest the following to the government and to friends of Ethiopia:


1- Increase investment in education

2-publish more books (both text and reading books)

3-support Ethiopian teachers and all educators


Teaching in Ethiopia is not a respectful Job. Teachers are not paid a living wage nor do they have the support to do their job. Teacher turnover rate is very high. In some school almost all teachers are under the age of twenty five. School administrators do not have adequate education or experiences. Universities do not have qualified teachers and books. I urge the government to build more schools and classrooms to alleviate overcrowding. Make teaching a respectful profession. Teachers deserve a living wage and free from additional non teaching tasks such as community and political out reaches. Teacher’s job is to teach children. School should be provided with additional staff not only to support teachers but also to do to partnership with parents, behavior management, and other student- teachers support tasks.


In Ethiopia children are not reading. Children are not taught the importance of reading from their parents, family, school, and the media. This has to be changed. Children learn by reading. Reading makes one a lifelong learner. School must include reading and writing in their curriculum. Government need to invest in developing, in reading and writing curriculum and book publishing. Encourage and subside individual investment in book publishing business. Encourage book import and donation from developed countries. Again, lower and subsidized book publishing by lowering publishing costs such as tax, paper, advertisement and promotion.  Finally, make campaigns to promote reading- both for children, adults and their families.


Support Ethiopian teachers and educators by making teaching a respectful attractive profession. Increase teacher’s compensation, hire more teachers and support staff.  Teachers work should be limited and focused in teaching children only. No additional outside classroom task such as outreach task to teachers. Teachers work is only to teach children. More professional development trading in especially in reading and writing to teachers. Add and make change to curriculum to include more reading and writing across all subject areas. Hire teacher support staff such as assistant teachers, attendance and behavior monitors, and social workers to work with children and their families. 


Finally, I urge my fellow citizens to support our children and teachers in Ethiopia. Let's all help build libraries in every city in Ethiopia.  Support nongovernmental organizations such as Ethiopian reads, US aid and others who work directly with children and teachers. Let’s all help schools by donating books and educational materials to colleges and universities. Most of all let’s advocate to lower teacher- student ratio by building more schools, to lower the cost of publishing books, and access to the intern ate in Ethiopia. Once again lets us all debate and our rhetoric focus on improving our children education.


Yilma Senaye is an educator living in the US

Sep 30, 2014

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