Mar 21, 2012

Oromo: Language Rights Not Respected In Schools

The Ethiopian ministry of education has adopted new measures that dramatically restrict the use and learning of the Oromo language in educational settings.

Below is an article published by Oromeida:

In some cities of Oromia Afaan Oromoo classes are substituted by Amharic languages by dividing the school system into three categories as a means of abridging the rights.

According to our sources from Oromia, the Ethiopian government through its ministry of education reversed part of the constitutional rights of the Oromo people under its rule in many ways.

Among these infringements on the democratic and human rights of the Oromo people as seen recently perpetrated on them by the regime is the infringements on the very gains of the constitution of the country that allows nations and nationalities to exercise the right to read and wright in their mother-tongue at least at elementary school education level. But those rights are daily abridged by cutting on curriculum in areas ceded to other nations and nationalities, and now being extended to even cities in Oromia regional state proper. The recent abridgements of rights are imposed on two cities in central Oromia: Mekii and Bishoftu.

Meki and Botee are the capital cities of Dugda and Bora districts of JIILLE Oromos mainly and JIDDA, SODDO, and ARSII Oromos.

BUSHOOFTUU is the capital city of ADAA district that is home to the ADAA, JIDDA, LIIBAN, GAJJA, ABBICHUU, and SOODDO Oromos mainly. These two/three cities are deprived of the AFAAN OROMOO classes by dividing the school system into three categories as a means of abridging the rights:

Public schools can offer Afaan Oromo only from 8:00 am -12:00 midday if teachers are available and students registered for classes as their preference, but NOT as a MANDATORY regional national state language of orientation; Private schools including religious based schools do not offer Afaan Oromo classes as a subject as well as as a language of regional curricular language of instruction; All public school classes are offered in Amharic from 2:00 pm -last hours including evening classes. Never have been implemented is the “Oromo” (Oromo wereda) district located between Darraa and Tach Bete wereda of Marrehaa-Bete Awurajja. Residents of this district, who are Oromos but lost their mother tongue as a result of long years of repression have demanded their district be included to Darra and be able for their children to go to schools where Afaan Oromo is offered. Their demands have never received attention by the regional state of Amaaraa and the central government.

Other cities soon to be given a chartered city status, ADAAMAA and SHAASHAAMANNE are under threat.

The Oromia regional state plea to reinstate Afaan Oromo as a language of instruction to this cities has been turned down by the central government via its arm-the ministry of education. Furthermore, those who attend Afaan Oromo classes in the early morning classes are discouraged and bullied at schools and on their way to and back home