JAD. Dysfunctional Institutions in the Delivery of Primary Education in Ethiopia. Journal of African Development Spring 2013 Volume 15 #1

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JAD

Journal

of

African Development

Spring 2013 | Volume 15 #1

Dysfunctional Institutions in the Delivery of Primary

Education in Ethiopia

TSEGABIRHAN WELDEGIORGIS ABAY1

ABSTRACT

The objective of the paper is to analyze the effectiveness of the existing institutional arrangements for providing primary education in Ethiopia. Using largely secondary data and a complementary survey of 100 schools and institutional assessment, the study clearly establishes the fact that as real school resources have been increasing over time while quality and efficiency of primary education has been deteriorating. Thus, resources-based arguments cannot explain the grave quality crisis and inefficiency. Rather the existing institutional set-up has been dysfunctional to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of the Ethiopian primary education system. The primary conclusion from this study is that the existing Ethiopian institutional arrangements have been effective in creating access to primary education but ineffective and hence dysfunctional in delivering quality of education.

1Department of Economics, College of Business and Economics, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; E-mail: htsegawg@yahoo.com. I am grateful to the AERC for financial support. I also thank, without implicating, Olu Ajakaiye, Mwangi Kimenyi, Ritva Reinikka, Waly Wane, and Samuel Mwakubo and the supporting staff of the AERC in Nairobi for their comments and editorial assistance. The participants at the 68th annual congress of the International Institute of Public Finance (IIPF), Dresden, Germany,

provided very useful comments. I am also grateful to Adamu Gnaro of the Ministry of Education for the survey and secondary data.

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INTRODUCTION

Expenditure on basic services and real resource flow is only a necessary condition to ensure an effective and efficient service delivery to the poor (The World Bank, 2004). What matters most in ensuring effectiveness and efficiency is the existence and effective functionality of relevant institutional arrangement.

The objective of the paper is to analyze the effectiveness of the existing institutional arrangement in bringing about access to and ensuring quality of primary education. The paper first briefly assesses the performance of the Ethiopian primary education in terms of access, inefficiency and attainment indicators. Then it provides with evidence and argues the fact that inefficiency has remained high and there has been grave quality problem despite the increase in real school resources. This has been so despite the very existence of relevant institutions and organizational framework to ensure quality education and reduce inefficiency.

The paper heavily depends upon secondary data sources. The study depended heavily on Ministry of Education (MoE) educational abstract, from early the 1960s to the present, 2009 to assess the performance of Ethiopian primary education in terms of access and equity, and real resource flow to the sector over time. For quality indicators, the study had to rely on the three ‘National Learning Assessment surveys’ conducted in 2000, 2004 and 2007, which measured pupil attainments on numeracy and reading skills. To complement these two national data sets, an institutional assessment of the sector was conducted in 2011 to understand as to how the schooling process was managed. This involved content analysis of relevant documents on the sector and intimate discussions with key informants, which included expertise, officials, five primary school teachers, five primary school directors and five parents from the two study areas. In addition a small survey was conducted in two zones of the largest regional state in the country, Oromiya and two zones of the capital city, Addis Ababa covering 100 primary schools in both survey areas in February 2011. This school survey involved two survey instruments, teacher’s perception survey of 400 teachers with 370 responses and 100 school director’s survey with a response of 91.

The paper is organized in such a way the next section deals with the state of effectiveness and efficiency of the Ethiopian primary education, which is followed by an assessment of the institutional arrangement from the angel of

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ensuring quality and efficiency in the Ethiopian primary education. The last section of course is the conclusion and policy implication.

INEFFECTIVENESS AND INEFFICIENCY OF THE ETHIOPIAN PRIMARY EDUCATION

This section first provides a brief assessment of access to primary education in Ethiopia and then discusses its inefficiency and quality problems.

ACCESS TO PRIMARY EDUCATION AND EQUITY IN ETHIOPIA

For a country like Ethiopia with low initial position and more than 80 million population (of which 45% constitutes the age bracket 0-14), access to education has remained one of the formidable challenges (CSA, various issues). In this regard, it appears that the Ethiopian government has set achievement of eighth grade2 instead of achieving fifth grade, which is more demanding than the international MDG indicator (MoFED, 2004; United Nations, 2009).

Despite a century old history, access to education remained at very low level for a long period of time since the establishment of the first modern secular school in the 1908, which was, followed by another in 1925 and then another in 1931 (MoE, 2005). Indeed, as can be seen from the following table, the size of enrolment of primary schools in 1967/68 was only 496,334. In 1975/76 enrollment was limited to only about 1,226,124 pupils. Primary school enrolment was less than 3 million in the early years of the 1990s. Since then primary enrollment has been expanding at double digit growth rate and has reached in the order of 15.5 million in the year 2008/09.

2 In Ethiopia, primary education lasts eight years and is split into two cycles, primary first cycle

(grades 1-4) and primary second cycle (grades 5-8). Likewise, secondary education is also divided into two cycles, secondary first cycle (Grades 9-10) secondary second cycle (grades 11-12). General education comprises grades 1 to 12. The provision of education is the concurrent responsibility of federal, regional and district (woreda) governments” (MoE, 2005).

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Table 1: Enrollment to primary and Secondary Education in Ethiopia, 1967/68 – 2008/09 (‘000s) School year 1967-68 1970-71 1975-76 1980-81 1990-91 1995-96 2000-01 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Primary school 496.3 728.5 1,226 2,341 2,871 3,788 7,274 13,475 14,014 15,341 15,550 Secondary school 26.7 53.2 90.1 216.9 454.0 402.8 649.2 1190 1399 1502 1589

Source: Ministry of Education (MoE) Annual Educational Statistical Abstract, different years

Taking both gross enrolment ratio (GER3) and net enrolment ratio (NER) the performance of the country in the last two decades since 1992/93 has been quite encouraging.

Table 2: Gross and Net Enrolment of Primary Schooling (Grades 1-8) in Ethiopia (%) by Gender

Year 1996 /97 1997 /98 1998 /99 1999 /00 2000 /01 2001 /02 2002 /03 2003 /04 2004 /05 2005 /06 2006 /07 2007/ 08 2008/ 09 GER-Boys 43 52 55.9 60.9 67.3 71.7 74.6 77.4 88 98.6 98 101 97.6 GER-Girls 26 31.2 35.3 40.7 47 51.2 53.8 59.1 71.5 83.9 85.1 90.5 90.7 GER-Total 34.7 41.8 45.8 51 57.4 61.6 64.4 68.4 79.8 91.3 91.7 95.6 94.2 NER- Boys 29.5 43 46.9 51.2 55.7 59 60.6 62.9 73.2 81.7 82.6 86 84.5 NER-Girls 20 28 31.9 36.6 41.7 45.2 47.2 51.8 63.6 73.2 75.5 80.7 81.3 NER -Total 24.9 36 39.5 44 48.8 52.2 54 57.4 68.8 77.5 79.1 83.4 83

Source: MoE Annual Educational Statistical Abstract, different years

The GER and NER of primary schooling of the country have been growing over the period since 1992/93 by more than 10 % and 11%, respectively, annually. As of 1996/97, while the GER was only 35%, the NER was about 25% out of the school age population bracket of 7-14. Hence, as of same year, 75% of the children of the Ethiopian school age population were out of school.

3 Gross Enrollment Rate is defined as “the percentage of pupils (irrespective of age) at a particular

grade level compared to the corresponding school age population. The GER includes those who may be under- or over-aged pupils. Net Enrolment Rate is defined as “the percentage of pupils at a particular grade level, who are of the official enrollment age for that level, compared to the corresponding school age population. It is the percentage of right school age pupils to the corresponding age bracket population (MoE, Educational Statistical Abstract).

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As of 2008/09, owing to expansion of access to schooling, both the GER and NER are, 94% and 83%, respectively. Taking both GER and NER, the gender gap has been narrowing down over the study period. In 2008/09, the NER of boys and girls were 84.5 and 81.3, respectively which is only a difference of about 3 points while the difference was about 10 points in 1996/97. Thus, in terms of creating access, the Ethiopian primary school institutional arrangement has been effectively functional to establish the necessary schooling infrastructure and achieve enrolment in primary education.

DISMAL PERFORMANCE IN COMPLETION IN THE ETHIOPIAN PRIMARY SCHOOLING

Indeed, access to education and its fair distribution to reach every disadvantaged group is only a necessary condition, to realize the ideals and goals of an education system. Any degree of inefficiency in the education system, not only wastes scarce resources, but also compromises the very objective of achieving universal primary education for all.

Primary school repetition rate, which is taken as a proxy inefficiency of school resources has declined from the order of 12% in 1997/98 to 7% in 2008/09. In the early years, repetition rates of girls were exceeding that of boys, but in the later part of the data set, repetition rates of girls is lower than that of boys.

Table 3.Repetition and Drop-out Rates in Ethiopian Primary Schools (in %)

Year (G.C) 1996 /97 1997 /98 1998 /99 1999 /00 2000 /01 2001 /02 2002 /03 2003 /04 2004 /05 2005 /06 2006 /07 2007 /08 2008 /09 Repeti tion Rate (in %) Bo ys 8.4 8.6 5.9 3.6 3.8 6.4 6.6 7 Gir ls 11.5 11.7 7.7 4 3.7 5.7 5.7 6.3 To tal 11 12 8.2 9.1 9.7 9.9 6.7 3.7 3.8 6.1 6.1 6.7 7 Drop-out Rate (in %) Bo ys 16.2 16.7 19.6 14.9 12.3 12.6 13.1 15.9 Gir ls 16.3 17.8 18.5 13.6 11.3 12.1 11.6 13.2 To tal 12.3 12.1 19 17.8 16.2 17.2 19 14.4 11.8 12.4 12.4 14.6 15

Source: MoE Annual Educational Statistical Abstract, different years

However, according to key informants, the reduction in repetition rates is not genuine. The attempts to reduce repetition rates were not based on understanding the underlying factors for high repetition rates. Simply, teachers were instructed to reduce repetition rates. As a result, without addressing the special problems of the low-performing pupils, teachers usually manipulate

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figures, simplify exams, and give more weight to class activities and attendance in order to reduce repetition rates.

The responsibility of the schooling system should not be limited to setting exams or continuously assessing a student and determine results and decide who should repeat or be promoted. Since the task is all about creating a future generation, the schooling system should be responsible to the performance of every child. The system should be designed in such a way to address the problems of students who may need special help. Otherwise, it would be inconceivable to address the goal of universal primary education.

Figure 1.Repetition and Drop-out Rates in Ethiopian Primary Schools by Gender

Source: MoE Annual Educational Statistical Abstract, different years

In general, drop-out rates have been quite higher than repetition rates in the Ethiopian primary schools. The drop-out rates has declined from the order of 19% in year 1998/99 to about 12% in 2004/05, which in turn increased to 15% in 2008/09. In general, there is no clear pattern of improvements. In fact it appears to increase rather than decrease in recent years. Even considering the lowest drop-out rate of 12% is quite high.

0 5 10 15 20 25 RepetitionandDropoutRatesinEthiopianPrimary SchoolsbyGender RepetionRate(in%) Boys RepetionRate(in%) Girls DropoutRate(in%) Boys DropoutRate(in%) Girls

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If out of the encouraging NER rate of 83%, such a percentage of pupils repeat and drop out, in a way the objective towards achieving universal primary education is compromised. Both repetition and drop-out rates add up on average to about 23%, which is a major snag to the educational system of the country.

Another performance indicator of the primary education system is the primary completion rate. Basically, universal primary education may be taken as universal completion of primary education, which is grade 8 in the existing Ethiopian education structure.

As the following table depicts, grade five completion rate increased from as low as 42% in 2001/02 to 79% in 2008/09. During the same period, the performance of boys has been consistently higher but the gender disparity has been increasingly closing down to be only one unit difference in 2008/09. Yet, taking the latest achievement of 80% means that 20% of the enrolled students have failed to complete their fifth grade, which is quite high figure to tolerate. The achievement in net enrolment is compromised by such low completion rate. On the other hand, for the same period, though improving, grade 8 completion rate has been low, which ranges between 19% in 2001/02 to 44% in 2008/09. It consistently improved from year 2001/02 to 44% in year 2006/07 and then stagnated at about 44% for the next three years.

Table 4: Completion Rates in Ethiopian Primary Schools, 2001/02 to 2008/09

Year (G.C) 2001- 2002 2002- 2003 2003- 2004 2004- 2005 2005- 2006 2006 -2007 2007- 2008 2008- 2009 Completion rate of Primary Ethiopian Schools (%) Grade 5 Boys 52 57 60 65 69 72 72 79 Girls 32 36 42 50 56 62 67 78 Total 42 47 51 57 63 67 69 79 Grade 8 Boys 24 30 35 42 50 51 49 48 Girls 14 17 19 26 33 37 40 41 Total 19 24 27 34 42 44 45 44

Source: MoE Annual Educational Statistical Abstract, different years.

Apparently, grade five completion rate has shown good improvement. However, it is to be noted that there is no national exam for grade five. In this regard, according to key informants, there are concerns that the recent improvements in grade five completion rates may not be a genuine achievement. Indeed, why is that improvement in the first cycle not reflected in the completion rate of grade 8, at which level, there is national exam? This may indicate the fact that the improvement in grade five completion rates may not be a genuine improvement. Teachers are instructed to minimize repetition rates and to increase promotion rates, thereby prepare sub-standard exams to increase promotion rates.

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The completion rates of boys have been consistently higher than that of girls in both grades. Encouraging enrolment rates, survival, rates, lower drop-out rates are all meant to contribute to higher completion rates. Thus, the gender disparity in the completion rates is a serious problem. Failure to address this problem at this point means creating the fundamentals of sustainable gender disparity in to the future generations.

Thus, the inefficiency indicators clearly indicate the gravity of the problem indicating not only high wastage of scarce school resources but missing the opportunity to ensure universal access to quality education. The promising net enrolment rates to meet MDGs is being compromised by the high repetition and drop-out rates and very low completion rates at grade 8.

DETERIORATING COGNITIVE SKILLS ATTAINMENTS

The objective of the Ethiopian education policy is to “create a new generation who acquired the competencies, skills, values and attitudes enabling them to participate fully in social, economic and political development of Ethiopia” {MoE, (1994)} which are universal objectives of the education sector {UNESCO, (2010)}. Despite such clear policy statement on quality, it appears much remains to be desired.

Completion rate may be considered as quality measure, which however is discussed in a previous section. The more direct measure of quality of education is the result of an impact assessment4 on an educational system, which measures whether or not pupils have really attained the expected knowledge, skills, reasoning capacity and values from the schooling process.

As can be seen from the following summary table, educational attainment from the first cycle of primary education, has been significantly lower than the minimum achievement level of 50%. The composite mean (the average of what students scored in the five subjects in the country) in all the three rounds has been lower than the minimum achievement level of 50%. The composite mean scores (and all subjects except Mathematics), for grade four has declined from the order

4 Since, the existing data generation and reporting system in the Ethiopian education

system does not generate educational attainment indicators, the present study has relied on four National Learning Assessment Surveys conducted in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2010. The objective was to measure student achievement of the whole primary education system.

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of 48% in the first and 2nd rounds to about 41% in the third round. This indicates the fact that the system is in the process of degeneration.

Table 5: Comparison of Means Scores among the Three national Assessments for Grade Four and Eight

Three National Assessment for Grade Four Two National Assessment for Grade Eight

Subjects EBNLA (2000) ESNLA (2004) ETNLA (2007)

Subject ESNLA (2004) ETNLA (2007) Mathematics 39.3 39.7 40.3 English 41.07 38.4 Reading 64.3 64.5 43.9 Mathematics 40.93 34.1 English 40.5 38.7 36.5 Biology 41.34 38.3 Environmental Science 48.1 51.7 42.6 Chemistry 40.1 34.7 Composite 47.9 48.48 40.9 Physics 35.32 32.2 Composite 39.74 35.6

Source: MOE, Ethiopian National Learning Assessments of three rounds, 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Not only are the 8th grade national assessment grades of every subject lower than the 50% minimum achievement score, they have declined over the three years from 2004 to 2007. Moreover, the national composite mean score is lower than the fourth grade level, probably indicating, the problem is compounding when one goes higher in the educational ladder.

In addition, an early grade reading assessment (EGRA)5 was conducted in May and June 2010, in eight regions in Ethiopia on 338 sample schools and 13,079 students. The assessments included mainly reading fluency, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension of second and third grade pupils in Ethiopian primary education (USAID, 2010). The major finding of the study shows that “reading achievement is very low in Ethiopia. When asked to read a simple passage at a Grade 2 level, many regions had more than 30% of Grade 2 and 20% of Grade 3 unable to do so successfully. When it comes to reading comprehension, scores are extremely low, with more than 50% of the children in most regions unable to answer a single simple comprehension question (USAID, 2010).

Thus, after two and three years of school, such large proportions of children remained completely illiterate. It is more likely that these children may not survive even the 1st cycle of primary education. It is also possible that the schooling system has been callous enough to tolerate them till the 8th grade national exam. After all, the national repetition figures do not seem to reflect such level of poor performance in attainment, which should have resulted significantly

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higher repetition rates than the official figures. The very low completion rate at the grade 8 national exam may be attributed to the cumulative effect of mal-performance in the preceding classes.

These indicators do imply the fact that completing a full course of primary schooling has not been effective to produce a generation with the desired human attributes that the education policy of the country aims to achieve. Hence, the existing system of primary education has been dysfunctional to ensure quality and attain school efficiency.

CONCURRENCE OF REAL RESOURCE FLOW TO EDUCATION AND QUALITY DETERIORATION

One of the factors that determine quality of education is the extent of resource flow to the sector. The more the flow of school resources, it is expected the higher will be the performance of a school.

For a country that has to start from a very low level, the first requirement is the construction of schools. The number of primary schools has increased from the order of 500 in 1967/68 to 9,200 in 1992/93 to more than 25,200 primary schools in 2008/09 (MoE, Educational Statistical Abstract of different years). As of 2008/09, on average, every district (about 822 of them) is likely to have more than thirty primary schools (MoFED, 2004). Corresponding to the expansion of primary schools, the number of primary school teachers has increased from a quite low level. In 1967/68, the number of primary teachers was 11,219, which has increased to about 36,000 in 1979/80, to more than 100,000 in 1995/96 and to 270,594 in 2008/09, which is an increase of more than 25 fold in four decades (MoE, Educational Statistical Abstract of different years).

One of the indicators of real resource flow, which may have direct implication on quality of primary education, is the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) and pupil section ratio (PSR). The ratios show how the increase in teachers and classrooms commensurate with the exponential increase of primary enrollments.

As can be seen from the following table, both PTR and PSR appear to increase over time since 1995/96 and reached the maximum and then they tend to decline, showing an improvement over the supply of teachers and classrooms relative to the student community. Indeed, the pupil teacher ratio, where the country standard has been 50, was on the low side, before 1999/ 2000 and then it appeared to increase and reach the highest of an average of 66 per a teacher.

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Table 6: Pupil Teacher (PTR) and Pupil Section (PSR) Ratios of Ethiopian Primary Schools Year (G.C) 1995/ 96 96/ 97 97/ 98 98/ 99 99/ 00 2000/ 01 01/ 02 02/ 03 03/ 04 04/ 05 05/ 06 06/ 07 07/ 08 08/ 09 PTR 35 42 47 51 56 60 63 64 65 66 61 59 57 54 PSR 62 57 60 63 66 70 73 73 74 69 69 64 62 59

Source: MoE Annual Educational Statistical Abstract, different years

In the recent years, the PTR appears to converge to the country standard of 50 students per teacher. In general, though one may question the standard set by MoE of 50 students per a teacher, in general, the PTR does not seem to be a major problem to explain the disappointing performance of primary school pupils in the national learning assessments and the low rate of completion rates. Similar to the PTR, the PSR increased from the order of 60 pupils per section to reach 74 in 2002/03 and then has declined to 59 in 2008/09. Against the country standard and target of 66 pupils per section, the highest ratio of 74 experienced in 2003/04 cannot explain the deteriorating trend of quality of education and high inefficiency in the Ethiopian primary education.

Related issue of concern is the qualification6 of teachers in Ethiopian primary schools. In 1993/94, the proportion of TTI holders or equivalent of primary education (then 1-6) was 90%. Thus for the early years of the 1990s, the proportion of less qualified teachers was about 10% for primary schools in the country (MoE Annual Educational Statistical Abstract, different years). But then access was limited. With expansion of access and increasing student enrolment, the share of qualified teachers in fact improved instead of a decline.

Table 7: Percentage of Qualified Teachers in Ethiopian Primary Schools, 2000/01 to 2008/09

Level of education/Year (G.C)

Percentage of Qualified Teachers 2000- 2001 2001- 2002 2003- 2004 2004- 2005 2005- 2006 2006 – 2007 2007 – 2008 2008- 2009 1st Cycle (1-4) 96.6 95.6 96.5 97.1 97.6 96.3 97.3 89.4 2nd Cycle (5-8) 23.9 25.5 32.1 54.8 59.4 53.4 66.3 71.6

Source: MoE Annual Educational Statistical Abstract, different years

6 According to the country’s education standard, the first cycle (1-4) primary education requires

teachers with minimum qualification of certificate from Teacher Training Institute (TTI). Similarly, Teacher Training College’s diplomas are required for the second cycle (5-8) teachers.

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In the year 2000/01, the percentage of qualified teachers for the first cycle was about 97%, which remained about the same in the subsequent years. In the recent year, it appears the percentage has declined to 89%. The reason is because the MoE has upgraded the minimum qualification requirement and hence according to the recent definition, the proportion has declined to 89%, which still is quite encouraging. Similarly, the proportion of qualified teachers for the second cycle of primary education has made visible improvement from the order of 24% in 2000/01 to the order of 72% in 2008/09. Hence, qualification of teachers of primary education does not seem to be the major problem of the sector.

Moreover, though there has not been quantitative data of the supply and distribution of books (at least accessible to the author) according to school directors, officials in the MoE, and bureaus of education, the supply and distribution of textbooks have been increasing over time. In a nutshell, the flow of real resources to primary education has been improving over time. Had it been for scarcity of resources, quality and efficiency of primary education should have improved over time in the country.

THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENT OF THE ETHIOPIAN PRIMARY SCHOOL

The existence of strong voice, compact and client power is nothing but the very existence of effective institutions that render effective and efficient services {The World Bank, (2004)}. This section assesses the institutional arrangement of primary education. It considers mainly the decentralization of primary education, supervision and monitoring system, and the teacher’s management system.

DECENTRALIZED ETHIOPIAN PRIMARY EDUCATION AND SUPERVISION

According to the current constitution of 1995 of the country, which, states that “adequate power shall be granted to the lowest unit of government to enable the people to participate directly in the administration of such units”, there have been two major decentralization measures in the country {FDRE, (1995)}. The first is the one which established federal system in 1994, empowering every federal state with providing essential services like primary and secondary education and other essential services. The other is the district decentralization

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undertaken since 2002, which empowers every district to provide essential services to respective district population. Furthermore every community (known as Kebele) in each district is administered by elected councils. Therefore, apparently decentralization has reached its possible lowest level, beyond which no one can think of further devolution of power.

Corresponding to the decentralized system of governance structure, there is a hierarchy of civil service that has been running the education system of the country. There is the ministry of education (MoE) at the federal level and there are bureau of education at regional state levels. Corresponding to district level decentralization, there is an office of education or an education desk at every district. On average, a district education office manages about 30 primary schools. In addition, there is clustered school management system meant to enhance efficiency and quality of education. A group of schools in a district or sub-city are clustered and these clustered school share resources in terms of supervisory services, setting of exams, etc.

The District Education Office, the district executive body and district parliament all have the authority, responsibility and the managerial time and space to closely supervise, monitor and oversee the performance of each school in line with the constitution and sectoral policy and plans. Hence, formally, the long route of accountability of the schooling system is made short, which, could and should have contributed to the effectiveness and efficiency of primary education in the country.

In addition to the above structures, there is a need for school and classroom level supervision to ensure high quality of education and to at least minimize inefficiency at a school (UNESCO, 2007).

First of all, there is the internal supervision and monitoring system within the school by a school administration. A major duty of the school director (head master) is to supervise, monitor and ensure the smooth operation of the learning process. The school director prepares academic year plan, make sure that every teacher prepares lesson plan for every subject, attends and conducts classes, sets and corrects exams and submit grades for every pupil.

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Table 5: Teacher’s Perception on the existence of strong internal supervision

There is strong internal supervision Number of respondents %

Do not agree 76 20.65

Agree 230 62.50

Indifference 62 16.85

Total 368 100.00

Source: Author’s teacher’s perception survey

Teacher’s perception on the very existence of strong internal supervision is such that 63% of the respondents stated the fact that there is strong internal supervision, while about 21% expressed their disagreement. Probably those who disagreed on the strength of internal supervision might have higher expectation or there may be differences in governance among primary schools of the country. Anyway despite the very existence of such internal supervision, there have been grave ineffectiveness and inefficiency in the country’s primary education.

Table 9: School Director’s Turnover in the last recent four years up to 2009/10

Number of director's turnover No of obs Percentage

1 9 10 2 29 32 3 32 35 4 17 19 5 & 6 4 4 Total 91 100

Source: Author’s school survey

The total number of schools which had three or more turnovers in the last four years are 51, constituting about 58% of the total of 91 schools. Indeed, these figures show the fact that lack of stability in the school administration in the study areas is a major problem. If, indeed, there is such instability and short tenure period of a director, it is difficult to conceive of a director thinking of developmental agendas like enhancing effectiveness and efficiency.

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In addition to internal supervision, there are dedicated external supervisors who supervise every school every specified period of time (every 15 days) in a semester. School supervision is an institutionalized practice in every regional state and district. There is a supervisory body in every regional bureau of education that supervises and directs the regular supervision and monitoring activities of every district.

Table 6: Experience with external supervision during the first semester of the 2010/2011 academic year

Have you experienced external supervision

during the first semester of the current year Number of respondents %

No 10 4%

Yes 246 96%

Total respondents 256 100

Source: Author’s teacher’s perception survey

Indeed, out of 256 respondents, 96% of them were supervised in the previous semester. Only 4% of them stated that they were not visited by supervisors. The response of school directors was about 100% affirmative on the very existence and effectiveness of external supervision. The perception on the effectiveness of external supervisors may depend upon what their understanding, real motivation and commitment towards quality education and efficiency in the primary education system.

Moreover, direct community participation can be considered as one mechanism of shaping behavior of the operators in the school system, through supervision and monitoring and providing direct feedback to the schooling system {The World Bank, (2004)}.

There is clear recognition by the Ethiopian government of the need and importance of active community participation. In the sectoral plan documents, there is a recognition and appreciation of the fact that many communities have actively and generously contributed in the construction of many primary schools. According to officials from the ministry and Bureaus of education every school is instructed and expected to establish teacher-parental committees (MoE, 2005).

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Table 7: Teachers perception on the existence of strong parental committee

There is strong parental committee Number of respondents %

Do not agree 104 28.2

Agree 207 56.1

Indifferent 58 15.7

Total 369 100.0

Source: Author’s Teacher’s Perception Survey

Most, nearly 56% of the respondents of 369 teachers agree the existence of strong parental committee, while about 28% seem not to agree about the strength of the parental committee, which implicitly recognizes the very existence of such committee in every school. Similarly, all respondents of school directors acknowledge the existence and long history of such committees in their school. All key informants acknowledge the very existence of this parental committee but its participation has been confined to mobilization of additional resources from the community and as a means to increase enrolments when there is resistance of parents to send their children to school. Apart from that the parental committees have been ineffective to bring quality and efficiency of education.

Thus, though apparently every institutional arrangement is in place in the country’s primary education system, this system which has been effective in ensuring access to primary education could not guarantee quality of education and efficiency of the system in the country.

TEACHER’S HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Since human resource management is an indispensable factor in ensuring effective public management, “the capacity, motivation and integrity of human resources and the quality of leadership” {United Nations; (2005)} are critical factors that determine school efficiency and quality of education.

As part of the civil service7, the teacher is expected to attend in the school compound regularly and attend classes, prepare lesson plans and conduct exams.

7Since its establishment in the early 20th century, the Ethiopian civil service has been operating on the

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The entire structure of the education sector is basically oriented in terms of discipline and compliance to do the teaching activities, irrespective of their implications on the major goal of developing literacy and numeracy skills, as well as imparting values and other attributes, which the education policy intends to achieve.

Though many of teachers were positive about the teaching profession when the joined the profession, currently most have disliked their job. When they decided to join the teaching profession, majority of the respondents, more than 66% were positive about the teaching profession.

Table 8: Attitude of teachers to the teaching profession when they join and at the time of the survey

Was teaching a preferred job when you join the profession? No of respondents % Do you like your job now? No of respondents % Yes 247 66.40 Yes 159 42.74 No 125 33.60 No 231 62.10 Total 372 100 Total 372 100

Source: Teacher’s perception Survey

What is worrisome, however, is the fact that an increasing number of teachers have started to dislike their job. Nearly 62% of respondent teachers of 372 do not like to stay in the teaching profession. Related question as to whether they like to change their career was asked and the response was that nearly 65 % of the respondents of 364 teachers prefer to change.

For some time, there has been a career structure meant to motivate the teacher. All key informants categorically argue that the existing career structure is not adequate even if it were transparently and freely implemented. From the 370 respondent teachers, about 57% of the respondents are not happy about it. The percentage of respondents who responded for indifference and not knowing which accounts for about 21% tells something else. How come that such numbers of teachers happen to be indifferent about their career structure?

nurtured and sustained a culture of compliance, obedience, withdrawal and indifference for long period of time (Solomon, 2005); The Civil Service Agency of the FDRE, 2008).

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We are of the opinion that these are those who do not take any risk in responding to the questionnaire. They were not sure about the position of the government and party about this survey and integrity of the researchers.

Table 9: Teacher’s Perception on the Existing Teacher’s Career Structure

Existing Career structure is adequate Number of respondents Percentage

I do not know 20 5%

Do not agree 212 57%

Agree 79 21%

Indifference 59 16%

Total 370 100%

Source: Author’s Teacher’s Perception Survey

So they did not want to take any risk at all. That attitude of risk aversion is a sign of withdrawal, indifference and fear, which is not conducive for leading an institution that is effective to provide quality education, which ensures that no child is left behind the system.

Respondents were asked to express their agreement/disagreement on the statement that quality of education is low & deteriorating. Surprisingly, majority disagree with the statement that quality of education is deteriorating. From 368 respondent teachers, more than 47% of the teachers do not agree on the fact that quality of education is low and deteriorating. Similar view is shared by school directors. Out of 91 school directors, 64% of school directors do not agree that quality of education is low and it is deteriorating. How come that a nationally recognized quality problem is not recognized by such number of directors and teachers? The author is of the opinion that these rather show the extent of withdrawal or fear of the teachers or oblivion to their job and to the prime problem of the sector in the country.

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Table 10: Perception on quality of education and whether or not it is deteriorating

Respondents Opinion on the statement that quality is low & deteriorating

Number of respondents Percentage Do not agree 174 47.28 Agree 143 38.86 Indifference 51 13.86 Total 368 100.00

Source: Author’s Teacher’s Perception Survey

The teacher may not be taken for an angel who can address every problem of the school environment. Yet, the role of the teacher can be instrumental amidst among other social, economic and attitude problems in the school environment to enhance the quality of education and the inefficiency of the system. The attitude, motivation and commitment of pupils of such an age brackets hinges upon either the family or the teacher. In a social environment where illiteracy and abject poverty predominates, the role of the teacher should be quite high to motivate every kid for its education, to serve as a role model, and eventually to transform societies and create a new Ethiopian generation.

Thus, if the outcome of the teaching process is to generate students with desired human capital, the teaching process cannot be treated as a normal production process, where you buy-in resources (mobilize) and control them to operate in order to get expected products or services. One needs to stop treating the human factor like any other fixed asset, following the neoclassical production function. Rather the teacher is a thinking animal with values, interests, emotions, feelings, expectations and sense of responsibility, which gives it a decision space as to whether or not to exert his/her/ discretionary effort. There cannot be air tight management and controlling mechanisms to ensure initiative taking, creativity, rigour, becoming role model, ensuring loyalty to teaching, etc. It takes the will of the teacher to exert discretionary effort. Hence, it is timely to reorient the management philosophy towards teacher-centred development path of the teaching profession.

The incremental cost required to ensure a motivated and devoted teacher should necessarily be significantly less than the incremental benefits from a school reform that enlists the hearts and brains of every teacher to ensure effective teaching service and achieve the policy goals of the government.

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CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

The major lesson one draws from this study is the fact that the effectiveness of an institutional arrangement varies depending on the objective pursued implying the need for changing the thrust of a given institutional arrangement depending upon the objective to be achieved. The existing Ethiopian institutional arrangement has been effective in creating access to primary education but ineffective and hence dysfunctional to attain quality of primary education and minimize inefficiency.

Even though, a lot remains to be done to ensure universal primary education in the country, the existing institutional arrangement has been effective in creating access to primary education. The expansion of the schooling infrastructure to the extent of establishing more than an average of 30 primary schools in a district in the country is quite an achievement in terms of creating the foundation for access to primary education. The net enrolment rate, which has increased from the order of 25% in 1996/97 to 83% in 2008/09, is indeed a commendable stepping stone towards ensuring universal primary education in Ethiopia.

Yet, there are fundamental quality and efficiency problems that jeopardize the very goals of the country’s educational policy. For instance, completion rates have been quite low, indicating quite substantial loss of scarce school resources in the Ethiopian primary education system. Grade 8 completion rate as of 2008/09 was 45%, which, is more likely to frustrate the government objective of achieving of completion of primary education by 2015. More daunting is the fact that attainments in cognitive numeracy and literacy skills have remained low and declining. The composite mean scores for grade four has declined from the order of 48% in the first and 2nd rounds to about 41% in the third round. The grade eight national composite mean score is lower than the fourth grade level, probably indicating the cumulative effect of quality problems in preceding grades. The results of the national assessment surveys do indicate the fact that completing a full course of primary schooling has not been effective to produce a generation with the desired human attributes that the education policy of the country aims to achieve.

This poor performance of the primary education of the country has been experienced when concurrently real school resources have been improving over time. The number of schools, number of teachers, the competency ratio of

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teachers, have shown clear trend of improvement over time. The teacher pupil and pupil-classroom ratios have shown modest improvements too. Thus, the low achievement of primary schools cannot be explained by the low qualification of teachers, where there have been nearly 97% and 70% qualified teachers for both the first and the second cycles, respectively.

On the other hand, there has been an established institutional arrangement in the country. There is a well-developed decentralized governance structure up to district and community level and an established internal and external supervision and monitoring system. Moreover, there are parental committees in every school. But the existing institutional arrangement has failed to inspire and motivate the teacher, to realize the constitutional principles and policy objectives of the government. The country needs to urgently reorient its teacher’s management philosophy towards teacher-centred development path of the teaching profession. The incremental benefits from a school reform that enlists the hearts and brains of every teacher to ensure effective teaching service should be significantly larger than the incremental cost required in ensuring a motivated and devoted teacher.

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REFERENCES

Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), different Annual Statistical Abstracts, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

(FDRE), different Population Census publications, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Civil Service Agency of the FDRE, (2008), Strategic Plan, Addis Ababa,

Ethiopia.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), (1995), Proclamation of the Constitution of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Federal Negarit Gazeta, 1st Year, No. 1, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Masresha, Solomon (2005), “Performance Management: In the Context of the Ethiopian Civil Service”, Merit, vol. 10. No. 2, July 2005, Ethiopian Civil Service Agency; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ministry of Education (MoE), Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), (1994), Education and Training Policy, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ministry of Education (MoE), Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), (2000), Ethiopian Second National Learning Assessment of Grade four and eight Students, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ministry of Education (MoE), Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), (2004), Ethiopian Second National Learning Assessment of Grade four and eight Students, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ministry of Education (MoE), Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), (2005), Education Sector Development Program III (ESDP-III), 2005/2006 – 2009/2010, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ministry of Education (MoE), Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), (2008), Ethiopian Third National Learning Assessment of Grade four and eight Students, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED), Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), (2004), Millennium Development Goals Report: Challenges and Prospects for Ethiopia, Volume I: Main Text; unpublished document, MoFED, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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United States Agency for International Development (USAID/ETHIOPIA), (2010), Ethiopia Early Grade Reading Assessment: Data Analytic Report: Language and Early Learning, consultancy report prepared by Benjamin Piper, RTI International, for USAID/Ethiopia Office of Education United States Agency for International Development (USAID/ETHIOPIA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), (2007), Supervision: a Key Component of a Quality Monitoring System, Paris, France, retrieved from www.unesco.org/iiep, International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO).

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), (2010), Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report, 2010: Reaching the Marginalized, Oxford University Press, UNESCO, Paris, France.

United Nations, (2005), World Public Sector Report 2005: Unlocking the Human Potential for Public Sector Performance, New York, USA.

United Nations, (2009), Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report, 2009, New York, USA.

The World Bank, (2004), Word Development Report, 2004: Making Services Work for the Poor; Oxford University Press, Washington, D.C. USA.

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