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HomeEthiopian NewsTigray, Oromia align vs proposed changes to Ethiopia's education system. Ministry responds

Tigray, Oromia align vs proposed changes to Ethiopia’s education system. Ministry responds

As changes to the education system in Ethiopia is proposed, Tigray and Oromia regional state seem to view it wearing a radical ethno-nationalist political lens.

Ethiopia Ministry of Education - Ethiopian Universities given warning
Ministry of Education, Ethiopia. Credit: diretube

August 28, 2019

Ethiopia under prime minister Abiy Ahmed, he took over the office of the prime minister in April 2018, was marked by a struggle between a desire for change, as demonstrated in a range of rather nominal reform measures, and a desire to restore the pre-Abiy Ahmed EPRDF governance.

Controversy on the proposed new education road map is the latest case in point.  Months before Hailemariam Desalgne announced his resignation; the ruling coalition – Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – conducted a series of party evaluative meetings to figure out, as the party said during the time, causes for the prevalence of ethnic-based attacks on university grounds and elsewhere in the country.

The party openly admitted that the focus on ethnic identity and governance at the expense of shared national identity was one of the mistakes the party did.

Reform in the education sector brought about an opportunity to the party to take measures little measure that could significantly influence views of students on shared identity.

As it turns out, proposed education reform which recommended students across the country study Ethiopia’s working language, Amharic (it is also one of the oldest written languages in the world, not just Africa), as a subject matter in schools became a matter over which two members of the ruling coalition, TPLF, and ODP, fight against a federal government body – the ministry of education in this case.  In fact, resistance came from radical Oromo ethno-nationalists quarter outside of government structure too.

Based on DW Amharic report on Monday, the Tigray region rejected the recommendation from the ministry of education to teach students the Federal government’s working language.

The region’s education office head, Bahta Wolde-Michael, said that there is no need to teach Amharic since Amharic and Tigrigna languages use same language script, Geez.

No just that. Tigray also rejected the recommendation that students write the national exam at grade 8, in the proposed 6-2-4 education system. Tigray wants that to be a regional government responsibility as is the case now.

Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), which some political pundits see as an entity maneuvered by radical ethnic-Oromo nationalists, which is currently dominating the Federal government, rejected the recommendations too.

Shimeles Abdissa, president of Oromo regional state and deputy chairman of the party, was more furious in his remark about the proposed education road map. His remark “no negotiation over the Oromo language,” which is currently not the Federal government working language, made it seem like the Federal education ministry’s recommendation for students to take the Federal working language as a subject matter in school as a war on Oromo language.

There are nine ethnic-based Federal regions in Ethiopia’s Federal system and the rest of the regional governments do not seem to see the recommendation to offer Amharic as one subject matter as a war on their language.

In fact, the Somali regional state president, Mustafa Mohammed Omar, is said to have criticized radical ethno-nationalist sentiment against the recommendation teach Amharic as one subject matter in classes.  For him, speaking an additional language is an added advantage, not a liability. And it does not go against one’s own identity.

The rest of the regional states did not express a negative sentiment so far to the Ministry of Education’s recommendation so far.

For those regions who opposed it have also another pretext; the new education road map threatens the Federal system and the constitution.

Federal Ministry of education gave clarification on Monday in what seems to be an effort to address the concerns of those two regions. The ministry said, as reported by Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), teaching a federal government working language in the regional states which were included in the roadmap is only a recommendation, not a compulsory requirement.

Tilaye Gete(Ph.D), the minister for education, said the education road map allows students’ mother tongue as a medium of instruction from grades 1-8.

Teaching the federal working language as a subject matter in schools is also a recommendation which means that the ethnic-based regions are not legally required to do so.

“The Education Road map does in no way demolish the Federal system that Ethiopia is following. It does not have the power to either,” Tilaye Gete is cited as saying by FBC.

For him, the remark from those who oppose the new education road map on grounds that it is similar to the old education system is not accurate either.

Finally, he added that the new education road map can only be implemented if the people of Ethiopia believe in it. 

Quality of education in Ethiopia, including university education, has been criticized, and the proposed change was also intended to address issues in that area.

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  1. I would say proceed with the plan and leave out those who refuse to learn. Results will be positive for the more than 60% of ethiopians

  2. What time we are living in on? Hell these losers if the Ethiopian people follow them with their hearts will lead all us to total destructicon and war. Thanks God that we have God fearing people deep in their hearts. What is wrong in learning language of your own brother and in same cases for most of Ethiopians at least some blood relative close or distant language? At what point we have gotten to these nastiness? Why a specif targeted hate for your own brother language when you are embracing alien languages and scripts like English or else even Chinese? What damage would bring learning another language? Other than to understand and comunícate with your neighbors that forcibly and unlawfuly you have confined in your fake non historical binding ethnic regions?. For me the only explanation is that neither TPLF, ODP, or the ethnic extremist and expansionists like OLF and others they do not have any meaning ful way to continue as political entities unless creating strife between peoples that have learned to live and tolerate for long time. They used people and ethnical strife to come to power and they use the same to stay in power. People should wake up give them a good lesson before they cause the imaginable in every house hold. I can not imagine why they did not recepricate the proposal like asking their languages to also be reached as optional in other regions or if really there is demographic reason and resource available to also ask for adding other languages as national working languages. The only reason is that these guys are just political prostitutes. How is possible one to say weeks ago they would teach even Somali in his region yet today they would reject teaching the national language of the country since old times. Then one only can see pattern of the same old expansionist patterns from 16th February and not of mutual integration. TPLF is another use people as shield sell outs. Tigreans should be ashamed of them as well as even the most prominent Tigreans like Yohhanes IV never showed these kind of self hate and Ethiopian unity destruction in the historyas we speak.

  3. Amaharic has no alphabet and it was spoken by many people just emperors forced people to use amharic instead of geez.

    Amharic is now becoming the language of few people who call themselves amharas who donot have language for thier own. It is a total fabirication lasting for centuries. There are many fake stories which we still take it as a genuine for instance amharic has alphabets for itw own, fasiledes , Zerayacob were saints etc: Amharas were killing innocent kids burying in the house, amharas mutilated the body of their victims, amharas were ensalving many tribes and forced them to work as peasants , farmers, for years and not aloed to enjoy thier harvest etc

    • Wow!
      Oromiffa is using some imported Latin alphabet and you dare to this. At least the Amhara emperors were patriotic enough to use Ge’ez as their alphabet because of their shared origin with Axumite empire.

      Whether you like or not, Oromos share the same blood too. But they end up being fooled by some TPLF narrative and ended up with self-hate and inferiority mind set. Oromo language would sound better written in Ge’ez and you know it.

  4. Amharic has no alphabet

    Amhara was serving as a slave for years . Amhara was apagan for centuries. Later, amharas were christianized by People coming from notheren kingodm, Axumite Epire.

    Amharas is known for slavery, supersitition and words describing insults and abuse.
    As Professor Richard Punkrust stated in his book. Amhara has no history and identity they are made of former slaves from west Africa. who came as slaves to Asum and eventually settled by Tigrean rulers in Gojam and Gonder and Shewa. They have also mixtures of Tigriean origin . You can some of the things that makes them west Africans, kinky hair, big and flat nose, thick like west African and voodoo is also west African culture which is metet.

    • Some Amhara got those ‘west african’ features because of Oromo migration into their land. Know history before posting your fake history.

  5. Teaching Amharic to Ethiopians is a plus. Amharic is the language of work, hence teaching Amharic to kids is like paving ways for kids to prepare themselves to obtain job in federal government.

    As I said on multiple occasions, why do those who speak Amharic fluently deter kids from learning it. If everybody tries to teach his/her children English, why do not we try our best to teach Amharic. If it was my way, I will even agitate to teach Tigrigna, Somalis, Guragigna, Sidama, Afar and other languages of the Ethiopian people.

    Why do Ethiopians listen to those who tell kids not learn? Education system should stay out of political bickering.

  6. Students in America have to take another language in high school. Most take Spanish.
    Just make the Amharic class optional. The parents who want their children to not fall behind in the Ethiopian market will enroll them. Once again, Amharic is not Amhara.

    • Good solution but in the US working and national language is English. Perhaps all languages in Ethiopia could be taught as a 2nd option.

      This has huge economic implication, one common language helps facilitate communication.

  7. What I realize know is that in tigrai they teach there amharic 3rd grade in oromia 5 grade and in somali region the TPLF told us to teach somali kids amharic 8th grade what funny and fair is that .
    I think it will be fair to teach children’s couple languages like amharic and oromo somali and government recognize 3 official federal working language Afan oromo,amharic, somali and all will teach in schools it will be beneficial to all
    But if another ethnic groups learn amharic in school its disadvantage to the ethnic amharas become they didn’t get chance to learn somali or afan oromo .
    Somali president I think is clueless puppet of Ahmed shide and abiy .
    Since he come to the office no development was achieved Period so sweet talking is nonsense so I withdraw my support ahmed shides puppet.
    I was against tplf fake federal system but I support real federalism but Abiy seems preacher but his real attention will come out sooner or later

  8. Let us take hypothetical question.
    If Ethiopia DISINTEGRATES into pieces, based on language, religion, races, tribes and other factors, will the people who fractured themselves by themselves into pieces benefit out of it? If the answer is YES, in what way? If NO, why are then Ethiopians wasting time on disintegration instead of building a cohesive society for the benefit of ALL in socioeconomic development? As the Amharic saying goes >>>: ‘saiychegir Til’ or perhaps as another saying goes:’ lijen lafata; sira kemifeta !!!!!!!!!!! Amazing.

  9. Dear Editor,
    I think I made a ‘bobo’ on the following commentary. I thought I sent it but not 100% sure. Here it is again with modification in the last line.

    Commentary, 29 Aug 2019
    Let us take hypothetical question.
    If Ethiopia DISINTIGRATES into pieces, based on language, religion, races, tribes, and other other factors, will the people who fractured themselves by themselves into pieces benefit out of it? If the answer is YES, in what way? If NO, why are then Ethiopians wasting time on disintegration instead of building a cohesive society for the benefit of ALL in socioeconomic development ? As the Amharic saying goes >>> ሳይቸግር ጥል or perhaps as another saying goes: ልጀን ላፋታ፣ ስራ ከምፈታ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing.

  10. Amharic has been used as a political tool to oppress, discriminate, marginalize, … all ethnics. It is like Afrikaans language in South Africa. It is a language of oppression, repression, … and it must be eradicated like Afrikaans in South Africa. Regional states do no need Amharic. They have to use their language . Amharic is a creeping racist apartheid language. If people wanted common language they can adopt a common or neutral language . Geez is a neutral language. Geez can only serve as neutral language. No need for Amharic language . We had enough. Amharic has no long history and is not an old language . It is new , it was forced on others 150 years ago and it was no written language until the 13th century after it adopted few Geez alphabet.

  11. If need be, all national languages should be learned & if not no need of other language. We are familiarized with Amharik & it is more than enough to be lingua-franka or to join us one another. Please leave it.

  12. Majority of Ethiopians had been constantly manipulated with Gondare antagonists Amaras who put words in our mouths. No wonder the decorated hero, Asaminew Tsige did what he did to the antagonists. Gondare Amaras are always twisting what TPLF said to negative constantly antagonizing people and vice versa The Gondare got no other skill but to antagonize. Gondare loves to gossip and antagonize us, the only way left for us is to cut off communication with Gondares, that way Gondares cannot make up negative stories about what our children said or didn’t say. We are tired of being antagonized day in and day out always having to prove our innocence to the professional antagonists who put words in our mouth.

  13. Tigray was slaves from Yemen thats why the tigratu tribe has a very different name then Axumites. During the fall of Axumite culture the tigretu migrants from yemen and sudan came to Ge’ez speaking provinces and mixed with the speakers.

    While Amaras were living in Shewa Lazomelza Gondar Gojjam for thousands of years the language eventually changed.

    The oromo language is from kenya and the tigrayan is from yemen. Amharic is the language Ethiopia Kings unlike tigrigna and oromifia


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