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Articulate positions in the peripheries: narratives from Desert and Rift Valley communities in Ethiopia Kathleen Heugh University of South Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "Articulate positions in the peripheries: narratives from Desert and Rift Valley communities in Ethiopia Kathleen Heugh University of South Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Articulate positions in the peripheries: narratives from Desert and Rift Valley communities in Ethiopia Kathleen Heugh University of South Australia



4 Pastoralists/nomadic communities in Ethiopia – snapshot statistics million = approx 15-20% population = pastoralist 20-30% enrolment in education 17% reach secondary – across whole country; 75% of these are boys (+/- 5% of pastoralists reach secondary) 5 schools for people in one Oromyia zone (Anis 2008: 7) 70+%women subjected to genital mutilation by puberty Schools located in urban/village settings not along grazing routes or near water Criticism of education provision includes that: –The curriculum makes few connections between pastoralist and mainstream system; –It is inflexible and insensitive to rhythms of pastoral life (USAID& PACT 2008)

5 No. LanguageMother Tongue Speakers according to 1994 census data Ethnic Group members 1 Afan Oromo Amharic17,372, Somali3, Tigrinya3,224, Gurage Sidama1,876, Wolayata1,231, Afar965, Hadiyya923, Gamo Gedeo637, Kafa569, Kambata Awingi356, Dawro Gofa MAJOR ETHIOPIAN LANGUAGES (numbers of Mother Tongue Speakers) 1994 CENSUS (adapted from Hudson 1999: ) 5

6 Language use and function as stipulated in the 1994 Education and Training Policy 6 LanguagesLevel of EducationFunction 1 Mother tongues/ Nationality languages Primary (Grades 1-8) Medium of instruction (MOI) 2Amharic(usually from Grade 3) As a subject and language of countrywide communication 3EnglishFrom Grade 1As a subject 4EnglishSecondary and higher education (from Grade 9) Medium of instruction (MOI) 5One more nationality and foreign language ---As subjects, for cultural and international communication

7 Perceptions and realities of pastoralists pessimism vs pragmatism Stigmatised & static view of communities Subject to poverty, climate change, inadequate knowledge of environment, development advice & aid – often misplaced (cf Cohen 2008) Non-participative/passive resistance: I dont go to meetings because we (women) are not important Afar woman Non-co-operation and reluctance to keep children in school (poverty, nomadic lifestyle, early marriage, labour) Increasing evidence that the communities claim voice (Brocklesby et al 2009) Pastoralists are adapting to and aware of global challenges (claim support of education of girls) & want to inhabit complex worlds which do not involve the loss of language or culture but do offer expanded repertoires (Krätli 2000 etc) – tribal and traditional, religious leaders and womens associations participate

8 Dudub, Afar (pastoral) community voices Community chairperson: The community has supplied free service, labour for construction and stools for students, and water during construction. There is a water pump to provide water for the children at school – but no generator so the school is not open… Community spokespersons: We would also like to learn in the evenings but there is no electricity… We would like to learn to read and write Afar, Amharic, mathematics, civics and English.. The children should learn Afar and then English… Those Amharas must learn English and we dont need Amharic… Chairperson Girls should go to Grade 8 or beyond. We used to think foolishly that ladies should not get education – now we know that first ladies must get education … in Afar for grades 1-4 for the foundation. From grade 5 it should be English… Spokesperson: Actually we want Afar and English [medium] to the end of secondary. Chairperson: If you have confidence in the language and culture … should not be worried about loss of culture because of English… Chairperson in response to a discussion about boarding school for secondary: Our culture does not say we must send our children away.

9 RegionMOIEnglishMaths Biology ChemPhysicsAverage TigrayMTM OromiyaMTM SomaliMTM AmharaMTM HarariMTM Addis AbabaMTM Dire DawaMTM SNNPRMTM GambellaMTM Benishangul Gumuz MTM 0 L2 Amharic AfarMTM 0 L2 Amharic Year 2008 grade 8 achievement scores by region and years of MTM 9

10 Main Findings of a Study of Medium of Instruction in Ethiopian Schools Heugh, Benson, Bogale & Gebre Yohannes (in press). Students learning three languages through primary and secondary achieve higher overall scores across the curriculum than those who learn two languages –Students in SNNPR have MTM4, plus Amharic L2 plus English L3, plus MT subject continues to end of grade 8 – perform better than urban students in Addis Ababa & Dire Dawa with Amharic MTM6, plus English FL (2 languages) Students with MTM6+8 have highest English language (subject) scores at end of primary Students with MTM8 have higher overall achievement and best opportunities of retention through end of secondary; best opportunity to reach higher education Significant community participation: construction, parent associations, funding; communities express voice and position –If we do not build a school, no one is going to build a school for us – SNNPR (Anis 2008:7-8) –Students in remote regions appear to achieve more highly than those closer to urban centres under certain condition (community participation) 10

11 Main findings continued: Because pastoralist and rural girls are less likely to continue in school beyond puberty, strengthening home language and L2 (Amharic) literacy in the first few years is essential for the sustainability of literacy in a language/s used in the community. Regionally produced books reach hands of students [between 1994 & 2009 in 32 languages; unlike comparatively resource-rich South Africa] – resulted in local skills development, broadening of participation in language development, and the growth of local publishing industry/ies Regulations restricting/excluding international publishers removed in Experience elsewhere in Africa shows tension between local publishing industry catering for multiple mother tongues, wither when international publishers enter market along with increasing emphasis towards an international language, like English. –This would be likely to have a negative impact on the sustainability of literacy for girls.

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