Core Education Problems in Ethiopia

Ethiopia faces many historical, cultural, social and political obstacles that have restricted progress in education for many centuries. According to UNESCO reviews, most people in Ethiopia feel that work is more important than education, so they start at a very early age with little to no education. Children in rural areas are less likely to go to school than children in urban areas. Though gradually improving, most rural families cannot afford to send their children to school because parents believe that while their children are in school they cannot contribute to the household chores and income. Social awareness that education is important is something that Ethiopia lacks but has improved gradually. There is a need to change the importance of education in the country's social structure, and children should be encouraged and required to attend school and become educated. The society of Ethiopia expects teachers and parents to use corporal punishment to maintain order and discipline. Most believe that through punishing children for bad habits they in turn learn good ones. Also since the mid-1970s there was a drastic loss of professionals who left the country, mostly for economical reasons. Many educated Ethiopians sought higher salaries in foreign countries thus many of those who managed to finish higher education emigrated from Ethiopia creating an endless shortage of qualified professionals in every sector of the country. As of 2006, there were more Ethiopia-trained doctors living in Chicago than in the entire country. Now the custom of sending academics abroad with the risk of a brain drain is being replaced by expansion of masters and doctoral programs to up-grade academic staff. Instead, foreigners have been funding programs for leadership, management and pedagogic skills or sending staff to help strengthen teaching and management practices.