The Addis Ababa Education Bureau has shut down 96 private schools for “giving sub-standard education”. The schools were unable to provide the necessary facilities or resources needed to meet standards of educational institutions. Facilities like libraries, sports fields, and educational aids as well as adequate number of teachers were not provided in the schools.
The bureau accused the schools of ‘only chasing after money’, not caring about the environment their students are being taught in. Eighty percent of the 96 schools that were shut down are kindergartens previously banned from registering students this academic year.
“There is a standard for everything. Some of the schools work with unqualified instructors, some teach in congested classrooms, some of them increase fees without any reason. We have the duty to ensure the education quality is maintained,” said Gemechis Tekletsadik, Inspection Officer at the Education Bureau.
All schools were given prior warning and a grace period to meet the bureau’s standards before action was taken, according to Gemechis. “They dismiss good education and instead work at a very poor standard,” he added.
School owners, however, feel like they’re being held to standards without support. “They told us to bring the schools to highest standard in every aspect but the bureau never supported schools to reach that standard,” said a school owner.
Some school owners have lodged an urgent compliant to the bureau, claiming the closure of the schools will push students out of education for the year and put teachers out of a job.
“When investors ask the government to establish a factory, the government gives them incentives like giving them land, a tax holiday and other exemptions. But when one gets into education, there is no incentive. It is sad the government just proclaims it is striving to maintain the quality of education,” an owner reproached.
Owners further criticize the government for overlooking other important aspects affecting standards of education. “When condominiums are constructed in the city, no space is reserved for schools near the condos,” he pointed out.
Currently, over 1,600 private schools are working in Addis Ababa.