Update From Ethiopia
March 2015 Report From Demeke Fekadu, City Government of Addis Abab
Over the last few years, the progress with regard to early childhood development activities in Ethiopia has been promising. Some core activities were undertaken in 2015 by the Ministry of Education and other developmental partners. Early childhood education coverage has shown remarkable improvement: the registered participation rate is 33.7% (kindergarten = 6.6%, 0-class = 21.6%, and child to child = 5.8%). The major activities undertaken in the country are: development of the fifth version of the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP V), an assessment conducted on the preschool curriculum, launching of a new early childhood education approach – accelerated learning and engagement of major early childhood development (ECD) actors through early childhood care and education networks at the regional level.
- The Government of Ethiopia, in collaboration with UNICEF, has launched and piloted a new approach to early childhood education (ECE) that is believed to increase ECE participation in the country. Called Accelerated Learning, the approach is implemented for two months during the summer (break time) before children enter primary school. Its intention is to prepare children for primary school through quick preparation that focuses on early reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. The Ministry of Education and UNICEF seek to reach the most vulnerable groups of children in the remote parts of the country through this promising approach.
- The Ministry of Education worked with Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) to conduct a National Preschool Curriculum Implementation Assessment. The current working curriculum requires practitioners to follow it in congruency with Learning Through Play, yet most of the sampled preschools failed to do so due to uneven distribution or absence of curricular materials, lack of training and guidelines, and insufficient children’s books to implement the curriculum, as well as inconsistencies in preschool centers.
- The fifth version of the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP V) has been developed and it is a roadmap for the education sector in Ethiopia. While the first two plans dedicated minimal attention to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), this version has given the utmost attention to it, clearly stipulating it as the priority of the education sector.
- Government offices and major ECCE actors have been working together to intensify awareness of and improve practices of early childhood development by hosting ECCE networking workshops and implementing different models to meet the needs of the community. World Vision Ethiopia, one of the active actors in ECD, is implementing the Learning Roots ECD model to address the needs of children between 3 to 6 through community-managed early learning centers, parenting empowerment, and system strengthening pillars. It is a focused program that aims to nurture children’s holistic development in building evidence so as to accelerate their development and scale up the model to other areas. Similarly, Plan International Ethiopia, ChildFund, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), and UNICEF have been working ardently to expand ECCE services and child-friendly practices in the country.
Tsega Sewalem. (2004). National Preschool Curriculum Implementation Assessment Report, Submitted to Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), Bole Sub City, Addis Ababa.