Education sector: Striving to scale-up the country's human resource Featured

16 May 2018

Education is not only a wealth for a country, but also a stairway to create knowledgeable and skilled citizen. Education is a key in the government's strategy of bringing rapid and sustainable economic growth through strong human resource capacity, and becoming lower-middle income country by 2025.
In addition to the plan of making education accessible all across the country, various works are underway to ensure quality education. On a recent 9 month performance report presented to the House of Peoples Representative, Dr Tilaye Gete, (PHD) Education Minister, disclosed the five major focus areas of the ministry, which include preparing a 15 year action-plan, Deliverology, civic and ethical education improvement, and the 'Learning Generation' project, among others.
Regarding the 15 year action-plan, the State Minister revealed that the preparation work is well underway by evaluating and reviewing education and training policies of the last 25 years, and by involving more than 36 higher education institution professionals and researchers.
So far, document assessment, site works, articulation of international experiences, research works have already been completed. The plan is to formulate the action-plan as per the directives given by the government, and by holding talks with the relevant stakeholders through various mechanisms. The plan also involves walking the action-plan through all the necessary process.
As to 'Deliverology' - which is an approach aimed at managing reform initiatives and delivering successful results - it has come into effect in the three prominent and most influential goals of the education sector. It targets to manage and monitor the implementation of activities that have significant impact on students learning outcomes.
Deliverology is employed to deliver effective result in the three identified objectives, which are: ensuring more than 50 percent passing score for students, securing employment for 90 percent of TVET graduates one year after graduation, and securing employment for 80 percent university graduates.
In order to accomplish the aforementioned goals, all the necessary structures have been installed starting from the ministry to regional offices and organizations. And as per the plan, works are already initiated in every sector by involving international consultants on all the three sectors. Follow up, monitoring and evaluations are underway. Also, implementation plan has been laid out by preparing discussion document for the teachers.
There were also works done by the ministry in relation to upgrading history textbooks, and civics education. While the preparation work for grade 9 and 11 history textbooks is nearly completed, works are accelerating in collaboration with Addis Ababa university to complete grade 10 and 12 by the end of the year.
As for civic and ethical education, the ministry has tried to collect inputs from 197 federal offices and public institutions by preparing coordination plan in three sectors to improve the governing principles and value.
By giving civic and ethical education training for 1814 teachers, the number of civics teachers that have gotten the training so far has reached 31,586, while 10,600 teachers are being trained currently. Training manual Preparation has also been given for 749 higher institution civic and ethical education teachers.
The Learning Generation' Project
In 2015, the international community committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 4, which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Out of that came 'the learning generation' project which was launched by United Nations Education Commission to be implemented by countries and ensure inclusive and quality education for all by 2030. Its main aim of the project, among others, is to enable low- and middle-income countries to boost education quality and enrollment rates within a generation.
While 14 countries from Africa have been chosen to be included in this program, preparations are already underway to make Ethiopia one of the early implementers of the program.
In general, moving forward, facilitating education quality, improving the recruitment and training mechanism of teachers and administrators, and finalizing the works that have been started to improve the curriculum will be given attention.
Intertwining the tasks identified to ensure the success of the curriculum/education system with delivery unit to bring results needs continuous attention.
In this regard, it was noted that works need to be done in harmony with the pertinent stakeholders to reduce the rate of dropout, increase teacher attendance rate, and address gaps seen in special needs and elder education.
Also, moving forward, TVET sector will be given attention. More specifically, special attention will be given to bolster the technology transfer capability of the sector, and to strengthen university industry linkage. And for this, the relevant stakeholders should dig in to maintain the performance based system.
Capacity building works aimed at augmenting the (school) administrators' management skill so that they ably carry out the teaching learning process, research and development and social work must continue. It was also noted that completing the next 15 years action-plan of the education sector, and starting its implementation beginning from early next year should also be given due attention.


Film Industry: Crucial means to promote nation’s culture

It is crystal clear that the film industry has significant advantage in promoting culture, in addition to contributing to the overall economy in terms of creating job opportunities for many talented youths involved in art, and outside of it. It was unfortunate that Ethiopia only recently launched a film policy to support the sector. The policy tries to respond to the issues facing the sector, and to initiate change that would help compliment the pursuit of the country's cultural objectives.
The past two decades have witnessed major changes in various film industries worldwide in response to both economic and cultural developments around the globe. Globalization has led to what is described as the “international division of cultural labor”, which is raising cultural issues.
As an infant sector, Ethiopia's film industry is not yet impacting the global industry, but rather it is impacted by the giant global film industries like Hollywood and Bollywood.

Films are ambassadors of culture

To this end, we can safely say that the policy intervention made by the government on behalf of a privately-owned, commercial film industry falls within the broader sense of cultural policy. This is due to the fact that film will have both positive and negative impacts to the socio-economic, political and more importantly cultural domains of any regional, national or supra-national geographic space.
Many studies reveal the significance of film policy initiatives along with economic and cultural issues with which they have been concerned. While they all indicate the manner in which countries have been obliged to respond to the economic and technological changes brought by globalization, they also demonstrate the variation in responses to these shared challenges.
In doing so, the studies also highlight the ways in which film policy occupies a significant place at the intersection of economic, cultural and political debate, and on the socio-economic and cultural consequences of ‘creative industries’ discourse.
Kindeneh Tamene, a researcher who conducted a study on Ethiopian film history under the title “A Brief Overview of Ethiopian Film Industry”, explained that Ethiopia was the only African nation with its own scripture, alphabets and history of ancient literature, which makes it an ancient civilized nation.
He said that Film was introduced to the country around 1898, three years after the first film was projected in Paris in December 28, 1895.
Stating the challenges of the sector, Kindeneh stressed on the importance of huge investment to the growth of the industry, as capital is the biggest challenge to the sector. He further said: “Socio-political instability of the country for long is one reason that stalled the film industry and forced it to still remain in its infant stage.”
Mentioning the fact that the sector is showing some progress over the past 10 years plus, the researcher further highlighted that much remains to be done in terms of tapping into the potential of the sector by promoting the country's culture worldwide. “This can help generate huge income, and create more jobs, both inside and outside the sector.”
Many are heard saying that the youth is influenced by cultures that are not their own. Seeing the contents of the TV shows in many of the emerging media channels in the country, and also considering the fact that the most viewed cinema by the youth and adults are foreign films is an indicator of the failure to promote the diverse cultures of the nation using cinema. Youths are influenced by both negative and positive media and cinema outcomes of the developed world, which is a loss if not properly managed.
Based on his findings, Kindeneh disclosed that the sector requires qualified professionals and shall be supported with researches. He also said: “Both the government and the private sector should work for the sector's development.”
Ethiopian Film Actor Desalegn Hailu recently said that the film policy that the government has adopted of late after many deliberations was a good step forward. “This was the biggest moment that I wanted to see in my life which happened after many discussions and effort.”
The actor further said that the policy, if it is practically supported with all the pertinent bodies, would create in the future many youth filmmakers and professionals that can standout on their own and curve a place for them in the global film industry.
For this, the government should give much focus to promoting and safeguarding the country's culture not only by developing policy, which certainly is a step forward, but it should also support the sector by giving incentives and creating conducive investment opportunities to attract foreign direct investments to the sector. And this is crucial for experience sharing, and most importantly, for the growth of the sector.


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