May 01, 2007

Oromo: Concern at School Drop-Out Rates

Local experts and NGOs point out that rapes and abductions could be the cause of Oromia’s increasing school drop-out rates.

Local experts and NGOs point out that rapes and abductions could be the cause of Oromo’s increasing school drop-out rates.

Below is an extract from an article written by Endale Assefa and published by the All

Addis Ababa - School drop out rates in Oromia is becoming a challenge in the region's path towards achieving MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] in the education sector and abduction and rape could be the reasons behind the ever-increasing number of students leaving school, a regional education expert told The Daily Monitor on Wednesday [25 April 2007].

The expert, who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to speak for the bureau, said the official indicators usually released in the beginning of the year showing a rise in school enrolment were deceiving, for most of the students who showed up then will have left school, and for various reasons.

"The indicators that come out of the bureau and that of the Capacity Building Office here show access to primary education has increased by almost 17% in 2006/07 compared to 85.4% in 2005/06, but that is incorrect," he said This figure is told to have reached 100% this year; yet, these figures are just preliminary data based only on the number of students who joined school during September, the first school month in Ethiopia.

According to the expert, more than half of the students leave school before the end of the first semester exam due to personal reasons attributed to the cultural and traditional practices on top of the social and economic problems.

A consultation and experience sharing workshop was prepared at Nathreth town last Wednesday in commemoration of the Global Action Week which brought Basic Education Network, BEN members together.

Ephrem Motbainor, Administrative head of Aberash Memorial Development Organization, AMDO a local NGO engaged in alternative education practices among others, says their organization has been aware of the problems of drop outs.

He said their organization has been working on Alternative education at Mekelle and Oromia regional states with respect to minimizing the rate of dropouts.

"Schools should be built very near to the village where children live so that the risk of abduction and rape and its fears which forbid children from going to schools could be eliminated." Wondimagegnew Mecha Melka, A/ Executive Director of Kind Heart Child Aid Development Organization, KCADO, another local NGO working on Basic education working on training high school dropouts in auto mechanics, embroidery and tailoring skills realizing and responding to the increasing number of school dropouts year after year.

The Basic Education Network is composed of more than 52 member NGOs who are working on basic education whose aim is building technical capacities of NGOs, working also on advocacy and lobbying on key policy issues.