Bogale Abera says he’s proud to be part of new efforts to improve the quality of teacher training at the Hawassa College of Teacher Education in Ethiopia, where he also serves as the Head of the English Language Department.
Since the beginning of 2014, Mr. Abera has been developing new training modules for teacher trainees with the support of the UNESCO-China Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) project (funded by the Chinese Government). This is part of a drive to improve the quality of education in Ethiopia in order to give children the best possible opportunities in the future.
Education plays a key role in the fight against poverty in this East African nation and in the government’s strategy to become a middle-income country by 2020-23. The number of students and institutions in all regions is continuing to increase, especially at lower primary and upper secondary levels. According to the UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report 2013-14, Ethiopia’s rate of getting children into school at the right age has increased, from 23% in 1999 to 94% in 2011. Ethiopia is also a Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) ‘State Champion’ a title which recognizes progress the country has made in achieving education goals. Today, the key challenge in all levels of education is quality. Ethiopia is one of the few countries in Africa which has institutionalized national learning assessments and this has shown the scale of the challenges in increasing the quality of education, as well as the means of tackling them.
The overall goal of the Ethiopian CFIT project called: “Harnessing Technology for Quality Teacher Training” is to complement government efforts in achieving Education For All (hyperlink) goals by improving Teacher Education Institutions. The project is supporting two teacher education institutions; Bahir Dar University and Hawassa College of Teacher Education.
By strengthening Teacher Education Institutions, teacher trainees as well as on-the-job teachers, will be better prepared to provide quality education to their students. The project also aims to strengthen teacher training through technology such as online distance training platforms.
As part of the project, Mr. Abera has been involved in evaluating the needs and development of training modules. “My participation in this process helped me a lot. It helped me determine the English language competencies needed for primary school teachers and helped to establish the trainees’ current level of skills. This work clearly showed me the gaps in their skills. A problem known is problem half solved,” he said.
The CFIT project, which spans four years, aims at enhancing the skills and knowlegde of teacher trainers, like Mr. Abera. In Ethiopia, 2,000 teachers will be trained to teach students using modern pedagogy. In addition, teacher educators and teacher trainees will be encouraged to improve their mother tongue and English language skills for teaching purposes and they will be equipped with knowledge on how to use information and communications technology (ICT) for education.