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Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby yaballo » 16 Apr 2018, 19:35


Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

"Ethiopia's Education Crisis: What Is the Way Forward?

Andrew DeCort·Monday, March 26, 2018.



According to Index Mundi’s estimates (2017), the current demographics of Ethiopia look like this:

0-14 years: 43.47% -- male 22,963,502 + female 22,826,957 = 45,790,459.
15-24 years: 20.11% -- male 10,516,591 + female 10,669,695 = 21,186,286.
25-54 years: 29.58% -- male 15,464,171 + female 15,702,104 = 31,166,275.
55-64 years: 3.91% -- male 1,998,711 + female 2,115,210 = 4,113,921.
65 years and over: 2.94% -- male 1,391,339 + female 1,701,740 = 3,093,079.

In other words, Ethiopia is a remarkably young country, a veritable nation of students with a median age of 18. Nearly 46 million (43.5%) of Ethiopia’s 105 million people are under the age of 14. Nearly 67 million (65.5%) are under the age of 25. Thus, it is impossible to over-estimate the significance of Ethiopia’s educational system for nurturing the present and future generations who will work for the development of Ethiopian society.

However, the longer I teach in Ethiopia and the more I talk with other teachers and employers, the more deeply alarmed I become that Ethiopia’s educational system is radically failing and falling apart (see here for Tom Gardner’s article). I believe that my school is one of the best educational institutions in Ethiopia, and yet I regularly encounter students - on the graduate level - who struggle to read, write, and demonstrate coherent thinking. Of course, there is a spectrum and very inspiring exceptions.

Here is the dilemma I'm seeing: Quality education is essential for overcoming poverty, but poverty seems to make quality education almost impossible. It's a vicious situation, like Theseus’s ship: How do you rebuild a boat while sailing across the ocean? If you don't rebuild, the ship will will sink. But rebuilding while sailing is also extremely risky.

Consider the following factors at work in Ethiopia's impoverished educational system:

1. Most teachers were themselves poor students, have been poorly trained to become teachers, and thus do not inspire deep learning in their students. It is hard to transmit what you have never received or only experienced in glimpses and fragments.
For example, English teachers are famous for not being able to speak or write English. If the teachers do not understand what they are teaching, how can their students learn? I recall talking with a Harvard researcher some years ago who studied math classes in rural schools, and he found that teachers routinely wrote miscalculations on the chalkboard. Unsurprisingly, however, they refused to acknowledge their mistakes when bright students caught them, and thus basic competence was penalized. It was more important to agree with the teacher than to understand math.

2. Most teachers are poorly paid and supported, and thus they are frustrated, distracted, and unmotivated. In many cases, they teach at several schools to make ends meet and have a low level of commitment to any one of them. They are spread thin and offer leftovers. Since everyone knows this is how the system works, few people question or challenge it.
Unsurprisingly, then, some of the most gifted young professionals I know are ex-teachers, who taught for a year or two but then did everything in their power to get out of the system, because it was demoralizing them. It turns out, then, that those who remain in the educational system are often the rejects of the private sector - those who tried but were not able to get out.

3. Classrooms are overcrowded and not conducive to rich learning, because so many students need access but cannot afford to pay for it. Thus, an under-trained, under-resourced teacher competes for the attention of 50 or 100 students who are themselves tired, hungry, worried, or bored. The result is that the teacher is overwhelmed, and the students are underserved. (For example, I knew a passionate young lecturer at Addis Ababa University who grew exhausted by his gigantic class sizes and the incompetence of his students, and thus he moved to China and then Europe and has no plan of returning.) Learning doesn't happen. Plagiarism is taken for granted, lightly penalized, or actively encouraged, and thus again learning doesn't happen. Nonetheless, students are passed, graduated, and enter the job market, because failing most of the students would humiliate the system and create social unrest. The outcome is that many students have learned almost nothing and yet possess diplomas, which become increasingly worthless. (Everyone has met university graduates, whose entire higher education was in English, and yet who struggle to say, "Hello, how are you doing?") I have heard from multiple employers that they sometimes prefer hiring employees without a diploma, because there is a better chance that they will be teachable and willing to learn, since the formal education is almost useless and gives the students a sense of arrogance and entitlement.

4. Exceptional students who could become exceptional teachers exit the system, because they are passionate to continue growing and unwilling to work within an impoverished, impoverishing environment. Thus the most qualified educators are the most difficult to keep and almost impossible to win back once they leave, whether to the private sector or abroad.
The situation is well known: the best graduates want an efficient system with limited bureaucracy and politicization, accessible resources, good pay, and a higher quality of life. But this is precisely what an impoverished educational system will not offer them. Thus, brain drain becomes a flood. Everyone knows from the start that professional advancement is bogged down in bureaucracy and political loyalty; resources are scarce; pay is low; morale is bitter; and excellence is looked upon with suspicion because meritocracy would disrupt the traditional system and humiliate its gatekeepers.
Meanwhile, the lower-performing others watch as the best and brightest exit the system and attain a better life, and they also want this for themselves and struggle to attain it. The result is that brain drain trickles down like acid rain, even as remittances pour in to sustain those the system failed.
The martyrs who remain in the system often get burned out, ground down, or give up. They eventually leave the system or conform to the status quo, because they are tired of being discouraged or unrewarded for trying to do their job.

5. Thus, we return to point #1 in this vicious cycle. In a country like Ethiopia where the quality of education is plummeting even as its reach expands, brain drain is accelerating, unemployment is gigantic (some 800,000 youth in Addis alone), and the population is exploding (from 105 million now to 180 million in 2050), the signs are ominous. It is no surprise that "education" is often heard as a dirty word in Ethiopia. "Education" simply isn't something to aspire to but something to survive or avoid or go abroad for. (One of my friends warned me to stop talking about “theological education,” because he feared few Ethiopians would be interested in it. Instead, he counseled me to talk about “learning.”)

As I mentioned above, I regularly meet graduate students, who already have first and second degrees, who can hardly write in English, struggle to form coherent arguments, and don't seem to notice when they flatly contradict themselves in the same paragraph. And yet, even as they are students who show limited vigor to learn, they are already teaching courses in various schools and building their reputation, in part because they need the money to survive. Thus, students are dividing their attention as teachers before they are even trained.
Now, what we cannot afford to do is despair. But this educational crisis is alarming, and uncensored reflection is imperative to avert even greater disaster. We must ask the hard questions and have honest dialogue until we find genuine solutions. The worry is that when we hit 2050, Ethiopia will be in a far worse crisis than it already is but with 80 million additional people to educate. Unless we act now, 2018 will seem like the good ol’ days in hindsight.

What must be done? What is the way forward?

How do we marshal the necessary financial and human resources to train and inspire teachers who will train and inspire students?

How can the vocation of the teacher be rebranded to be seen as a noble profession rather than an impoverishing misfortune?

How can learning - rather than repetition and conformity - become an ideal in Ethiopian society, where free thinking and question-asking are often politicized and punished?

How can we reform a system that rewards loyalty and mediocrity, such that it attracts competent professionals to serve within it and reverse brain drain?

What are the other crucial questions that must be asked and answered to face this crisis?

One thing is certain: Ethiopia is a young country of students, who have the capacity to learn, but unless we find real answers to these urgent questions, there is little reason for optimism as we march toward 2018, unless we surrender ourselves to magical thinking."

https://www.facebook.com/notes/andrew-d ... 357492702/



Re: Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby Abaymado » 16 Apr 2018, 23:56


I don't understand: speaking and writing english ,is it a criteria to be educated? He is intending the whole population to be english speaking, is this their wish and plan? He is telling us acquiring knowledge is only through english language! Why don't he tell us the situation of chinese students? what about german students? We know they don't care about english.

He told us he talked to first and second degree holders, he confirmed their inability in speaking in english. What does that supposed to mean? I think he don't like the idea of changing english as high education learning language. Learning with foreign language may be the problem, we should use our languagr.
Indeed, he told us our failed educatiin system. That is correct. The government should take responsibility.



Re: Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby Amole-Chew » 17 Apr 2018, 09:18


Abaymado wrote:I don't understand: speaking and writing english ,is it a criteria to be educated? He is intending the whole population to be english speaking, is this their wish and plan? He is telling us acquiring knowledge is only through english language! Why don't he tell us the situation of chinese students? what about german students? We know they don't care about english.

He told us he talked to first and second degree holders, he confirmed their inability in speaking in english. What does that supposed to mean? I think he don't like the idea of changing english as high education learning language. Learning with foreign language may be the problem, we should use our languagr.
Indeed, he told us our failed educatiin system. That is correct. The government should take responsibility.


What the writer is saying is that, since every subject in Ethiopia's colleges is taught in the English language, producing graduates on a conveyor belt who can barely read or write in English, and watching them hopelessly fall into despair, is a national tragedy whose consequences get worsen with population growth.



Re: Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby sun » 17 Apr 2018, 13:25


Amole-Chew wrote:
Abaymado wrote:I don't understand: speaking and writing english ,is it a criteria to be educated? He is intending the whole population to be english speaking, is this their wish and plan? He is telling us acquiring knowledge is only through english language! Why don't he tell us the situation of chinese students? what about german students? We know they don't care about english.

He told us he talked to first and second degree holders, he confirmed their inability in speaking in english. What does that supposed to mean? I think he don't like the idea of changing english as high education learning language. Learning with foreign language may be the problem, we should use our languagr.
Indeed, he told us our failed educatiin system. That is correct. The government should take responsibility.


What the writer is saying is that, since every subject in Ethiopia's colleges is taught in the English language, producing graduates on a conveyor belt who can barely read or write in English, and watching them hopelessly fall into despair, is a national tragedy whose consequences get worsen with population growth.



hmm.. 8)

Social knowledge and know-hows are also deep in the society because our fathers and forefathers were even creative and genius when they kept thinking positively in unity built great civilizations and innovations during the flourishing and glorious days of the Kushitic empires. Understanding English, Chines, Russian, etc. languages can be very good but still knowing about own human and material resources and how to locally build TRUST between individuals and groups for viable higher unity to utilize these resources for the benefits of the citizens can also work.

Every one need not be English language experts it is enough if they are proficient in their own language. The French, the Russians, the Chines, the Nordic, etc. hardly speak English but yet are doing great jobs for their country and communities. The whole fuss about the language deficiency talk as some kind of catastrophe is just one of those misguided elitist talk talk...

It is absolutely better to educate lots of young people and help them graduate even with lesser language proficiency because some knowledge which they did not receive at school can be developed by these students themselves know that they have the bases and basic know hows from school and schooling. We have to remember also the fact that education and learning is an ongoing life long process which can only end when people are finally dead. Additionally the national tragedy IS NOT in the quality of education but in the quality trusts and trust based networking and unity within diversity and then putting in place good government and good governance that caters for equality and justice for all.

Also we have to ask ourselves if the rebelling South African, Kenyan, Nigerian, Sudanese, Egyptian etc. youths are rebelling and challenging the governments due to the lack of English language proficiency? :lol:



Re: Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby Degnet » 17 Apr 2018, 13:46


I am happy for Yaballo for speaking good English and having a degree but inside he is a barbar,I prefer the uneducated one with a bold heart.Why are you too negative,you know we all dislike the government,we respect all kinds of people.



Re: Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby sun » 17 Apr 2018, 14:45


Abaymado wrote:I don't understand: speaking and writing english ,is it a criteria to be educated? He is intending the whole population to be english speaking, is this their wish and plan? He is telling us acquiring knowledge is only through english language! Why don't he tell us the situation of chinese students? what about german students? We know they don't care about english.

He told us he talked to first and second degree holders, he confirmed their inability in speaking in english. What does that supposed to mean? I think he don't like the idea of changing english as high education learning language. Learning with foreign language may be the problem, we should use our languagr.
Indeed, he told us our failed educatiin system. That is correct. The government should take responsibility.


hmm... 8)

The craziest thing is that if you visit an English speaking country and speak English with accent some people thing that you are mentally retarded and perhaps need psychiatric help even though the visitor might be linguistic guru speaking 10 different languages. And then an English language speaker as mother tongue visiting some European countries speaking local language with terrible accent will be considered as mentally handicapped needing psychiatric help.

Partly this is the problem of Ethnocentrism where individuals and groups judge other individuals and groups external to their own on the basis and standard measures of their own language and cultural values which they knowingly or unknowingly consider to be the natural measuring standard everywhere at any time.

The best way is to have empathy and place your feet in the shoes of the other persons and then judge him/her from their own positions and viewpoints.

In our Ethiopian case we have dynamically growing young population while in most of the developed countries they have dynamically growing elderly population and lacking even nominal birth growth to replace the fast aging population and provide essential services for the elderly and the society at large.

In the Ethiopian case we can say that we are blessed with abundant diverse natural, material and human resources because they are the foundations and basis of putting in place dynamic and sustainable development for the promotion of equality and justice for all if we are lucky enough to have the type of government and good governance that is able to plan, promote and implement the positive and equitable sustainable developments for the greater good.

Otherwise why are the Chines, the Indians and all others scrambling to descend down over here and invest day and night non stop with no question asked?

A while ago I saw on a TV program about a Chinese shoe factory in Ethiopia whereby they have employed hundreds of young people producing shoes to be exported to the US market. According to the program the factory provides transportation, food, resting place and even over night sleeping places as needed.

After all Ethiopia possess one of the largest cattle resources in the whole of Africa in which case processed byproducts of domestic animals can be very good asset which provides highly competitive edge.

So, why shouldn't we count our blessings rather than always only counting our curses since there are always some blessings even with in the given curses.

In our case, some times it feels that we are so hungry in the middle abundance just like the foolish fish suffering from great thirst even though it is swimming in the ocean. 8)



Re: Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby DefendTheTruth » 17 Apr 2018, 15:38


Abaymado wrote:I don't understand: speaking and writing english ,is it a criteria to be educated? He is intending the whole population to be english speaking, is this their wish and plan? He is telling us acquiring knowledge is only through english language! Why don't he tell us the situation of chinese students? what about german students? We know they don't care about english.

He told us he talked to first and second degree holders, he confirmed their inability in speaking in english. What does that supposed to mean? I think he don't like the idea of changing english as high education learning language. Learning with foreign language may be the problem, we should use our languagr.
Indeed, he told us our failed educatiin system. That is correct. The government should take responsibility.


Beg, holding on such kinds of begs (sheep; without losing due consideration for the animal) like you, we can't reach anywhere. Our liability is much much higher than our asset these days because of people like you.

You don't even seem to understand or care to understand the core message of this article.

Dedeb!



Re: Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby Abaymado » Yesterday, 00:21


Very funny, you are trying to be smart! You are all trying to disprove me, but guys you are so simple and cannot see things in different angles.
Sun, chew, defendweyane: all are trying to teach me what was written. I knew what was written, but it is long and I tried to catch the main point as much as I could. I think it is better to teach yours to yourself.

Obo sun , is trying run away from the main problem. Indeed, there is a big problem that we are faced, but sun is telling us it is ok! :twisted:
Defend weyane, as usual trying to protect weyanes.

I can sense from the writer that he is much comforted for
English is learning teaching language i :twisted: n higher education.
I can sense he wishes ethiopia to be english speaking country.
Please come and disprove me. You are just superflous , your eyes cannot see beyond. Like weyane you are short sighted. Believe me if we go again word by word, I will beat you. In short, the writer want address two things. First he said the education system in Ethiopia is failed. I think oboo sun and defend the truth donnot want to hear this. Second, he write about english language as a measure of knowledge. H english english... Bla bla
You stone heads I know what the writet wanted to address but I wanted to take some of hidden agendas! :mrgreen:



Re: Ballooning population, near total youth unemployment & failed education: a recipe for disaster? 'Ethiopia's in-name only education' by Andrew DeCort.

Postby sun » Yesterday, 18:56


Ok let me admit that I wrote too long comment. So, I accept to lose and give you the win. Very easy!

Abaymado wrote:Very funny, you are trying to be smart! You are all trying to disprove me, but guys you are so simple and cannot see things in different angles.
Sun, chew, defendweyane: all are trying to teach me what was written. I knew what was written, but it is long and I tried to catch the main point as much as I could. I think it is better to teach yours to yourself.

Obo sun , is trying run away from the main problem. Indeed, there is a big problem that we are faced, but sun is telling us it is ok! :twisted:
Defend weyane, as usual trying to protect weyanes.

I can sense from the writer that he is much comforted for
English is learning teaching language i :twisted: n higher education.
I can sense he wishes ethiopia to be english speaking country.
Please come and disprove me. You are just superflous , your eyes cannot see beyond. Like weyane you are short sighted. Believe me if we go again word by word, I will beat you. In short, the writer want address two things. First he said the education system in Ethiopia is failed. I think oboo sun and defend the truth donnot want to hear this. Second, he write about english language as a measure of knowledge. H english english... Bla bla
You stone heads I know what the writet wanted to address but I wanted to take some of hidden agendas! :mrgreen:



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