Literacy rates in Ethiopia average well below 50%. With half of the population under 16 and school enrollment consistently below 70%, access to high-quality education is an obvious need. Children need schools; they need skilled teachers and librarians; and they need materials. Ethiopia Reads has strategies to address each need.
At the beginning of this decade, only 5% of kindergarten-age children in Ethiopia were in school. A child attending government schools started her education at age seven. That is late in a child’s development, especially in the case of children from households that cannot afford books. A lot of our education work is focused on early-grade access.
In 2010, the Ethiopian government announced its intention to provide kindergarten education in government schools. This will be a long process, and it is the intention of Ethiopia Reads to work beside the government in making the education provided the best possible.
Most schools charged with providing kindergarten education don’t have the space, the furniture, the trained personnel, or the teaching materials necessary to implement early childhood education properly. Ethiopia Reads offers school support packages in which we partner with a government or NGO-run school, offering training and mentoring for teachers, furniture and teaching materials for the classrooms.
As part of our school support, we offer after-school and family-centered reading tutorials for the earliest grades. We know how important a strong foundation in literacy is to academic success.