Theory of the problem
The challenges in Ethiopia's education system are multifaceted. Lack of basic educational
infrastructure, families and communities having competing priorities, English language
problems that follow students to high school and beyond, and so forth. That said, one of the
biggest challenges in Ethiopia‘s education system, especially in poorer and rural communities,
is the lack of qualified teachers. Ethiopia’s best and brightest don’t want to be teachers, and
those who do rarely last long. Today, teachers are mostly selected from poor-performing
students: those who graduate Grade 10 in the top 30% or so go on to Grade 11; those in the tier
below join the police; the rest who pass can go to teacher training college. In addition, the
teaching profession does not garner the respect it deserves and teachers feel trapped with
limited potential to grow in their profession and beyond.
Accordingly, we believe that the following are the main root causes contributing to the quality
and equity challenges in Ethiopia's Education System:
- teachers are mostly selected from poor-performing students and they are not adequately supported during their training to help them become effective educators.
- the teaching profession does not garner the respect it deserves and Ethiopia’s best and brightest don’t want to be teachers
- In rural and low income households where there are several competing priorities, families tend to invest in boys rather than girls, leading to a high drop-out rate of girls
- Early marriage for girls means dropping before finishing high school and taking the lion share of raising a family
- Lack of leaders and education advocates who can understand and amplify the communities' voice
- Lack of leaders that can articulate the need for tolerance, understanding and appreciation of Ethiopia's various ethnic groups.