Ethiopia – A Model for Investing in a Quality Education for All Children
In the last decade, Ethiopia has made rapid progress in getting more children in school and is on track to achieve gender parity in education. While I am proud of Ethiopia’s achievements, there is still a lot more to be done to ensure all children are in school and are learning.
April 03, 2014 by H. E. Ato Shiferaw Shigutie, Government of Ethiopia
6 minutes read
Students at the Hidassie Primary School in Ethiopia. Credit: GPE/Alexandra Humme

In the last decade, Ethiopia has made rapid progress in getting more children in school and is on track to achieve gender parity in education.

Enrollment in primary school increased from 75% in 2007 to 86% in 2011. And more children finished primary school – an increase from 48% to 58% over the same period. Ethiopia also matched its ambition with resources. Government spending on education rose from 11% of total spending in 1999-2000 to more than 25% in 2012-13.

While I am proud of Ethiopia’s achievements, there is still a lot more to be done to ensure all children are in school and are learning. Enrollment still lags in certain regions, with about 3 million primary-school children not enrolled. Repetition and drop-out rates at all levels are still way too high.

Ethiopia is not alone in the education challenges that it faces.

The Global Partnership for Education is a valuable partner

The Global Partnership for Education along with DFID, Finland, Italy, USAID, and the World Bank is helping Ethiopia to further broaden access, boost quality and ensure learning for all children and youth.

Ethiopia joined the Global Partnership in 2004 and since then received two grants totaling $168 million to support the General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP), a nationwide reform program to improve quality of teaching and learning in grades 1 to 12. All funding is pooled and managed by the Ministry of Education, giving the government the flexibility to move resources across components based on the progress made.

With Global Partnership’s support, we have been able to certify 90% of our teachers in primary and lower secondary schools. We are close to having one textbook per student for nearly 22 million school children and youth.

The most impressive results by far are the policies and systems that we have been able to develop with the help of the Global Partnership and others:

  • new school curriculum
  • new teacher training framework
  • new teacher recruitment , licensing and Re-licensing system
  • national assessment framework
  • national inspection framework
  • school grant mechanism
  • Education Management and Information System.

The Global Partnership’s new funding model

While Ethiopia is testimony to the added value of the Global Partnership, a ground-breaking new development approach promises to leverage even more and better results. The Global Partnership is adopting a new funding model that will incentivize developing country partners to tackle the most difficult education challenges of equity, efficiency and quality.

Building on the Global Partnerships’ country-led approach, the new funding model incentivizes developing country partners to maintain or increase domestic education resources and develop stronger education sector plans based on improved data and analysis.

In the case of Ethiopia, this means that we’ll be able to invest even more in strategies and programs that will lead to systematic and durable reforms to give more children access to quality education.

Second replenishment 2015 – 2018: A global call to action

As a proud champion of the Global Partnership’s second replenishment, I call on all partners to commit to increase global education financing at the GPE Replenishment Pledging Conference in Brussels on June 26, 2014.

With the support of our donor partners, the Global Partnership hopes to raise an additional US$3.5 billion in contributions to the GPE Fund to support 29 million children in 66 partner developing countries between 2015 and 2018. The Global Partnership is also calling on developing country partners to increase domestic financing for education to an average of at least 20% of national domestic expenditure and all partners to increase bilateral, multilateral and new innovative funding for the poorest countries to fill remaining funding gaps.

Replenishment is a major opportunity for world leaders to come together and through their pledges reverse the current downward trend in international education financing. A successful replenishment will help address Ethiopia’s funding gap and harness existing momentum. It will lock in gains by strengthening the quality of teaching and learning for more children throughout the country.

As Ethiopia’s Minister of Education, I call on global leaders from other developing countries and donor countries, international organizations, business and civil society to recommit to making quality education for all children the number one priority for investment.

Help make history in Brussels by joining me in pledging to ensure all children have the chance to be in school and learning, no matter where they live.

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