According to the Jan Ammora Wereda education office, of the 1,700 teachers who are teaching in Jan Ammora’s government elementary schools, 680 of them have only completed 10th grade and are not taking enough education classes to teach children.
The unqualified teachers currently teach from first up to 8th grade. This has upset many parents and some have stopped taking their children to school. The bureau added that because there is no additional incentive given for the teachers many qualified teachers who have diplomas in teaching have left the schools which has caused the education bureau to hire unqualified teachers.
The unqualified teachers get a monthly salary of 1,586 birr whereas those who have a diploma or degree in teaching get 2,404 birr. Jan Ammora is adjacent to Ras Dashen mountain, which is the tallest in Ethiopia and therefore experiences very cold temperatures. This also makes it very difficult for teachers to stay long. There also is a lack of infrastructure which means that some have to travel 15km just to get food or to get from home to work. Two years ago the Amhara Education Bureau added a hardship allowance for teachers who are teaching in Beyeda, Tselmet Aderkay weredas to reduce the high turnover of teachers around Semien Mountains.
However, the allowance which is a 30 percent addition form the basic salary does not include Jan Ammora Wereda’ school, a place so cold it the ground often frosts.
Getachew Amare head of Jan Ammora Wereda Education office told Capital that teaching with unqualified teachers will increase if a solution does not come from the government.
‘’The place is a very hard area to teach in, it is very hard for us to keep qualified teachers with the current salary and we should add an allowance and other benefits to provide a quality education for children otherwise we will not get much profit from our services,’’ Getachew said.
‘’The areas we work with where farmers live, we are always telling parents to send their children schools and they ask us why they should send their children with less qualified teachers in the schools,’’ he added.
The Amhara Education Bureau said that the problem is temporary and it is training more qualified teachers.
Tefera Feyessa, is the vice head of the bureau, he said that before they previously assigned teachers in Jan Ammora randomly. When they did this teachers who were not raised there did not stay long. Now they have changed their method since they realize it is better to train local teachers. He does not think it is a good idea to close the schools because it is better to bring children to the schools so they can at least learn something.
Tefera thinks that the main reason for the high turnover is not the salary but the remoteness of the area. He added that he can’t comment on the salary because it is the responsibility of the regional civil service bureau.
There are 97 elementary and three high schools in Jan Amora area.