Ethiopia’s effort towards accomplishing the Millennium Goals on Universal Primary Education


Ethiopia’s effort towards accomplishing the Millennium Goals on Universal Primary Education

Over the last decade Ethiopia has been strongly pushing to achieve its Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations. One of the major shifts of the development goals has been especially on that of achieving a universal primary education-which leads to a net enrolment rate from 25% in the early 1990s to 85.4% in 2011/12.

One of the important policy documents that the government adopted to harmonize the MDGs is that of Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program (SDPRP). The SDPRP uses most of the MDGs targets as a benchmark and utilizes the indicators to monitor progress towards the Goals. The countries vision registered under the SDPRP gave way for The Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP), which mainly focuses on the enhanced, determined, and people focused economic development.

The major pillars, indicated in the subsequent Growth and Transformation Plan were focused on building all-inclusive implementation capacity that involve the participation of women and accelerating economic development through the creation of employment and management of risks volatility. A starting point, therefor, to fulfill these objectives and  pave the way for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) action of the government are centered on the provision and assessment of education.

Within the charter of the 1994 Education and Training Policy (ETP), the Government of Ethiopia launched the first five year Education Sector Development Program (ESDP I) in 1997 Ever since the beginning of ESDP there has been a significant increase particularly in primary school enrolment where the expected rate of enrolment was from 3.7 million to 7 million rather it reached to 8 million in 2000/01.

Regardless of the rapid increase of the system, Ethiopia’s education sector seemed to be, directly or indirectly, vulnerable towards socio-cultural and financial barriers. The lack of awareness regarding the benefits of education among the society caused the access of education opportunities to be an obstacle, especially for females and other most vulnerable children, poor students in rural areas. On the other hand inadequate supply of education, triggered by the insufficient allocation of finance, brought about the inequality in the provision of quality education and the lack of human resource.

Major points directed within the agenda of the effort to overcome the obstacles and attainment of the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) regarding education evolved around the General Education Quality Improvement Package (GEQIP) which incorporates the Teacher Development Program (TDP), Curriculum Aligned to Student Assessment and Examinations, Ethics Program, Management and Administration Program (MAP), Information Communication Technology, Program Coordination and Monitoring and Evaluation. Accordingly, eradication of illiteracy through a satisfactory distribution of schools, gender equality, teacher trainings and good quality in education throughout both urban and rural areas are also one of the main streams. Putting this into account Ethiopia’s policy were set towards community mobilization and empowerment strategies. Where, the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP) together with the Education and Training Policy took the presidency, bringing about change in the number of primary schools and the number of dropouts. As a result data’s provided by the annual progress report in the 2012/13 GTP clearly indicated that the gross enrolment rate of students in pre-school took a leap from 21.6 percent in 2011/12 to 24.6 percent in 2012/13. Additionally, the expansion done in primary schools in both urban and rural areas boosted up the gross enrolment rate to 150 percent of male and 137.6 percent of female and is expected to increase further as government accelerates implementation of interventions.

On the other hand the impetuous issue of gender disparity in the country has also shown gradual decrease with a change in attitude from where girls were considered as an asset to the household to an asset to the nation. In a manner that the number of female students in primary education (Grades 1-8) reached to be 92.9 percent in relation to 97.9 percent of boy with a gap of only 5 percent during the three years (2011-2013).

The current Education Sector Development Programme has not merely focused on the quantity of accessible education, but has further shifted its attention to quality improvement to enable the country achieve the MDGs targets. Hence, much have been done to increase the number of teachers recruited, which showed to be 393,723 in 2011/12, and by provide instructors with constant periodical trainings. Hence, this has respectfully shown further increase in the student to teacher relation bringing about a ratio of 54:1 in 2012/13, only in the primary education.

As a result this intensified strands of the government in the assessment of primary and secondary levels of education have as result brought an increased number of applicants of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and that of higher education. Where the annual GTP report (2012/13) indicates that the overall enrolment of undergraduate in all sub-programs (regular, evening, summer and distance) in higher education institutions rose from 420,387 in 2009/10 to 553,848 in 2012/13; allowing an increase of female participation, from 27 percent to 30 percent within the same years.

As a result of the measures taken by the Government through successive education reform progress, that also contributes to bring about economic development, and the increased accountability in the effective use of resources within the sector, it has been possible to respond to the needs of the nation for skilled manpower that could serve the country in different professions.

However, there is still a lot to be done. The allocation of more resources to the education sector and the implementation of quality improvement programs at all levels of education still stand as important pillar to further put an end to the gaps. Thus, through permanent prioritizations of investments and periodical assessment of proceedings, both the quality of education and the socio-economic growth of the country can set off hand in hand making Ethiopia a center of education for the regional and international sphere.  Hence, the provision of better quality and technology create mutual benefits generating conditions for foreign teachers and students to take part in various levels of education in the country; and in addition Ethiopia’s education sector can further assist and grant scholarship to students and deploy teachers in various higher learning institutions abroad. By doing so Ethiopia’s aim to become a middle income country can finally be realized.

By Samrawit

Reporter on current social affairs



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