School Connects Ethiopia

Martha Hardy

Ethiopia’s Schools Connect programme aims to improve learning outcomes across primary education through the development of inclusion and gender equality in schools. 

Through this programme British Council Ethiopia expects to see significant improvement in learning outcomes for all students. Not only encouraging attendance but ensuring every child has the chance to understand, enjoy, be challenged by and love learning. To raise their achievements, widen their opportunities and reach their potential. 

Delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Education the focus of the Inclusion and Gender Equality: Improving Learning Outcomes course is to close the gap between inclusion policy and practice.

As part of this, Training of Trainers on Gender and Inclusive Education has taken place. Master trainer Sian Williams travelled from the UK to train three British Council facilitators in Ethiopia validating them to roll out the programme. Seventy-two teaching professors and eighteen education officers from across Ethiopia were invited to join this three-day workshop led by Sian. 

Miwedew Nega was one of the participants. Miwedew leads the Women and Social Affairs and Inclusive Executive at the Ministry of Education in Addis Ababa.  Miwedew found new information from the training, which he believes needs to be implemented at every level. 

'The main new thing I learnt from this training is that before anything happens in the classroom the teachers must identify what needs their students have. Which types of learners are there? How should they then adapt their lesson content, methodology, and instruction?' 

He realizes that teachers need to know every student individually to enable to reach them in their teaching approach. It’s not as simple as students accessing the classroom. There are many more barriers to learning that need to be identified and removed. 

'Recently the Ministry of Education has been restructuring so this is a key time for including new areas or make changes in policy and planning.

'Now we are working with different partners on these issues of gender and so on. We need the education bureaus to be trained to make our schools more inclusive. We need to reach the guardians, the school PTAs, the leadership. Implementing change must be coordinated between teachers, partners, education offices and society. Everyone must participate in inclusiveness.

'It is a process though; we cannot change in one night. We need to see and solve different barriers. This issue is not only in schools. Even in the Ministry of Education needs to change!'

Ethiopia faces huge challenges following recent and present conflicts and climate issues across the country. These issues disrupt lives and impact everyone, but especially female students. 

'At this time 2.4 million students are out of school due to conflict. This is the population of a small country! About 1.9 of these students are girls. The partners, the Ministry of Education, and everyone must participate to solve this problem.'


See also