group of people in classroom
An English lesson at Sherkolle refugees camp ©

Abayneh Haile

British Council has started supporting schools which are located inside refugee camps in the North West part of Ethiopia. There are 52,000 refugees in the four camps in Benishangul Gumuz region. UNHCR reports that Ethiopia is hosting almost 850, 000 refugees as of mid – 2016, the highest number in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. British Council did some needs analysis in February 2016 and found out that English serves as the common language among the refugee camps in Benishangul Gumuz region where there are more than 30 mother tongues.

Also, the results of the students in the refugee schools in the high stakes exams are well below the state schools due to various factors. Unlike the state primary schools in Ethiopia, the curriculum in these schools is in English. After various discussions with UNHCR and ARRA (Administration for Refugees and Returnees Agency), British Council came up with this pilot project to alleviate the challenges that these refugees face. 

The objective of this pilot project is to improve the quality of the lessons and improve the English proficiency of the teachers in the four schools selected. We collected baseline data from all the schools and recruited teachers from the four schools who are going to be Teacher Educators. These Teacher Educators are going to be trained and they in turn are going to train the other teachers in their respective schools.

There is a very strong monitoring, evaluation and learning scheme in place for the pilot. External consultants and British Council staff are going to support and monitor the teachers. If this pilot is successful, there will be a possibility to scale up this project to the other four refugee camps in Ethiopia.