Education has been proven to increase levels of economic growth, increase levels of democratic participation, increase yields for small medium and large-scale farmers, build a skilled and functioning workforce, and increase the health of individuals and families. Over the past decades, USAID support has focused on strengthening the education systems of African countries.
For the past 15 years in Ethiopia, USAID’s education programs have addressed a variety of needs and gaps across the entire education system in close partnership with the Ministry of Education. In Ethiopia, quality of education is the single biggest challenge and the priority of the Ministry of Education. Rapid growth in enrollment, currently at 95 percent, has greatly contributed to this decline. Large classes – more than 100 children in many cases – and a lack of teaching and learning materials in the classroom also contribute to the poor quality of education.
Meanwhile, the enrollment gaps between boys and girls and between settled agriculturalists and migratory pastoralists remain wide. Since 2000, three national learning assessments, conducted with USAID support, revealed that students’ learning achievements were below standards and are declining.
A recent key study was the largest Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) in Africa. Results of the EGRA showed that the majority of students in Ethiopia are not reading at the appropriate levels of comprehension by the end of grade three. USAID is developing innovative modules to train teachers on how to teach early-grade reading. These modules will be provided to all 30 teacher training colleges in Ethiopia.
USAID also works to close the gap between boys and girls by assessing the degree of educational disadvantage that girls’ face, identifying gender-related obstacles and implementing remedies to remove and overcome them. Greater educational attainment, especially for girls, leads to overall health improvements as well as to reduction in fertility, infant mortality due in part to delayed marriage, increased infant birth weight, better nutrition, age appropriate entry into school, better lifetime school achievement, and lower risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
USAID also addresses another massive challenge in the system: undereducated and low-skilled youth and adults. USAID is working with the Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) System to help develop relevant and useful curriculum for meaningful training that leads to meeting the needs of employers.
USAID Ethiopia's Projects include:
- Fre-Addis Girls’ Scholarships: Help 1,022 female high school students in 196 woredas who demonstrate strong academic performance and successfully complete grade eight, but are in need of assistance to complete secondary education by granting them scholarships.
- Improving Quality of Primary Education Program (IQPEP): Improve the quality of primary education through the development of teachers’ professional capacity, provision of supplementary reading materials, and strengthening of the planning and management capacity of the primary education system.
- Improving the Teaching of English Language in Ethiopia (ITELE): Enhance the proficiency of English language reading and writing and training in the colleges of teacher education and primary schools in Ethiopia.
- Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed (READ): Train teachers and develop curriculum to improve reading comprehension and writing proficiency in primary schools as the foundation for future learning.
- School-Community Partnership Serving Orphans and Vulnerable Children (SCOPSO): Increase enrollment, retention and learning performance of 40,000 HIV-affected orphans and vulnerable children in 400 schools.
- Strengthening Civic Education in Primary Schools (SCEPS): Foster children who are socially active and responsible youngsters, promote civic education and develop self-esteem and engage in community service activities.
- Sustainable Water Resources: Capacity Building in Education, Research and Outreach: Build the capacity in graduate-level education, research, community outreach, and institutional development in sustainable water resource management between Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and the University of Connecticut in the U.S.
- Teacher Development in Primary Education Strengthened: Provide technical assistance to improve the quality of teacher training through building the capacity of teacher educators in teacher training institutions, the Ministry of Education and universities.
- Transforming Education for Adults and Children in the Hinterlands (TEACH II): Increase access to education for children and adults in disadvantaged areas and improve the capacity of woreda education offices to manage non-formal education.
See also: USAID Ethiopia Country Development Cooperation Strategy 2011-2015 [PDF, 1.6MB]