Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Education reach; long way to go

Admassu Tsegaye (Pro), President, of Addis Abeba University, Helena Airaksinen, Ambassador of Finland and Shiferaw Teklamariam (Dr.), Minister of Education

Low preschool coverage as well as increased dropout rates for girls in secondary school are still the two major challenges the Ethiopian education sector faces, according to Minister of Education Dr. Shiferaw Teklmariam.

During a seminar organized by the Finnish Embassy on Finland’s education sector experience sharing, it was stated that even though Primary school enrolment has a 97 percent coverage rate which means that the country has achieved a target listed in the Millennium Development Goals (SDG), there is still a huge amount of work to be done at the preschool and secondary school levels.

“We know that these problems exist and they are the areas that we continue to work on with our partners, including Finland,” the Minister said.

Several nationwide assessments are continuously being done to explore how the education system is performing along with students’ advancements, especially in Science and Mathematics. According to the Ministry, work is being carried out to make sure that students can raise or maintain their grades at or above 50 percent.

“We follow the constant assessment system in this country, we do that to see if students have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills for a specific level in their study as well as to see how effective the process has been,” the Minister also said.

Finland, a country considered to have one of the best education systems and best performing students in the world has carried out an educational reform based on information from quite a few numbers of students and teachers, among other stake holders. The country also has invested heavily in public schools to make sure that there is no standard difference with the very few private schools and to make sure everyone gets the same opportunity.

The country also does not have a national testing system because of the belief that it promotes unhealthy competition between students which in return would disrupt the learning system. Experts further pointed out that students need to learn how to learn things.

“Learning in itself is a skill and students need to know how to learn in schools, this is one of the things we focused on with reforming the education sector,” said Irmeli Haline, Independent Consultant from Finland.

The seminar at Addis Ababa University further focused discussions on how TVET and higher education are meeting changing societal demand, and ways to encourage innovation and creativity from experiences in Finland.