Published On: Tue, Sep 2nd, 2014

The contrasting education fortunes of Ethiopia and Nigeria

The education experience of the 2000s for the two most populous countries of  sub-Saharan Africa could not have been more different. It was a lost decade for

Nigeria in terms of educational development. Despite the optimism generated  by the restoration of democracy in 1999 and the introduction of the Universal  Basic Education Law in 2004, the percentage of children out of school showed  no improvement. By contrast, Ethiopia made major advances, with the number  of children out of school falling by three-quarters between 1999 and 2011.

While major challenges remain, the reforms that Ethiopia has put in place  suggest that continued progress should be possible.

Household survey data confirm this divergent picture. Between 1998 and  2008, the share of children who had not completed primary school remained  at about 29% in Nigeria (Figure 1.2.6). The gap between the country’s two most  populous areas hardly changed, with the rate of non-completers six times  higher in the North-west than in the South-west. The gender gap within the  two regions did not change either. As a result, 70% of young women in the  North-west have not completed primary school.

By contrast, Ethiopia witnessed improvement, albeit from a low base. In  2000, 82% of children had not completed primary school, falling to 60% by  2011. While there are still fewer benefiting from education than in Nigeria, on  average, it is notable that inequalities have narrowed while progress has been  made overall. The gap in primary school completion between Addis Ababa  and the Somali region fell from 63 to 49 percentage points. Given that there  has been a large reduction in the percentage of children who have never been  to school in the Somali region (from 84% in 2000 to 37% in 2011), this gap is  expected to fall even further in coming years.

Since Ethiopia became a federal republic in 1994, its central government  has been effective both in exercising its coordinating function and in  promoting policy decisions. It more than doubled the share of the budget  allocated to education between 2000 and 2010, to 25%. These resources  were used to fund rapid classroom construction and teacher recruitment. At the same time, the government ambitiously devolved power to the regions  and districts, while closely monitoring results in the delivery of education and  other social services. An analysis of almost 200 urban and rural districts in the  Oromiya region and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region  showed that the introduction of formula-based funding led to declines in  inequality between districts not only in terms of funding per student but also  in terms of enrolment outcomes.

In Nigeria, the federal government has less control over the states. The  absence of data on the share of the budget spent on education since 1999 is  one sign of poor accountability. An attempt to track whether schools in Kaduna  and Enugu states received allocated resources revealed that, for most basic  inputs, including maintenance, textbooks and in-service training, there were  not even any norms as to what each school should receive. 

Culled from : EFA Global Monitiring Report 2013/4- Teaching and Learning – Achieving quality for All

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  1. fitsum tesfaye says:

    it is true that the numbers or the percentages explaining the distribution of education have grown rapidly in ETHIOPIA in recent years.but those increases in the numbers don’t tell the growth and improvements seen in the quality of the education and the capability of the schools producing citizens that would help in whatever the country might be in need of. quality should not be thought as something that would come in time by itself. unless we work on it from the beginning it will be a destructive factor to all the success we have achieved so far. the quality of the teachers those that has been told to be recruited rapidly to feed the rapid growth of schools everywhere in the nation is so humiliating. i mean so much humiliating…. you could say that education in ETHIOPIA (my country)is not saving lives of many but killing more kids that run to schools early in the morning. the kids goto school not to get introduced to the mysteries of the world but only just to get counted and be displayed in those big percentages so as an advice for NIGERIANS as you try to make schools available fast all over across your blessed nation and wish the percentages to grow make sure that the quality grows with it too. blessed be AFRICA.

    • Monty Poty says:

      The EPRDF (Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front ) is one of the most impressive political entity if not the number one in the African Continent. Since its rise to power after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in the early 90s it has transformed this nation into peaceful and economic powerhouse in the horn of Africa. Some of the stats include:

      *10% average GDP Growth from 2004 to 2014
      *33 universities in 2014 compared to 1 in 1991
      *Drop of HIV infection by 94% from 2001 to 20014
      *First light train in major African city
      *Increased electricity coverage by 40% from 1991 to 2014
      *Improved good quality road coverage from 14% to 31% from 1995 to 2004.
      *By far, the most stable government in the horn of Africa that is able to put check on islamist fundamentalist.
      *0 private bank/insurance in 2014 to 30 banks/insurances in 2014 (All owned by Ethiopians)

      The list of achievments continues. This was done inspite of the fact that this country became the largest land-locked nation in the world in 1991.

      All these achievments are tangible and documented by many ethiopians and independent observers.If that is the case then what is the reason for the dessimation of false propoganda such as this person? The anser is two thing:
      1:) Ignorance: Requires no explanation. Ignorance is a bliss.
      2:) Ethnic Chauvenism: There are 80 different tribes in this 90m people nation and there are some who believe that they are superior to others.

  2. addidas2 says:

    fitsum tesfaye and others like him are one of the many uninformed illiterates who missed the education bus in Ethiopia. He cannot understand the difference between basic education and advanced studies. He is therefore prone to making up unsubstantiated lies and accusations against the Ethiopian government.

  3. Amare says:

    at least say something from half a glass with water. what do u suggest then. It would v been better, if u start something with what so far has done. one thing to be sure ato fitsum that there is a clear policy and direction that is put. where as u simply seated and give comment in such a way, it shows ur short sightedness. of course there might be some issues with the quality but first we v to reach to this kids and then we can think of better educations. constructive argument is by far the reflection of wisdom.

    • dt says:

      ato Amare, u said it clearly and put the point. first the basic nnecessities and the then the quality. The point is, you can not awake, whom deliberately sleeps. Instead of that, it makes me happy to see, that we understand eprdf better now.

  4. Algorisms says:

    The “writer” missed his target analysis. This is a wrong interpretation of change in Ethiopian education. He should read a book entitled “Ethiopian Education: From crisis to the brink of collapse”.
    You are not yet matured because you are not properly educated.

  5. john bell says:

    There are lies damn lies and statistics, to repeat a famous cliche. Ethiopian education is not only inferior to Nigeria’s by any measure of educational metrics it the most inferior in Africa. The government is dedicated not only to fabricating statistics that is inflated beyond belief but invents whole numbers and figures out of thin air.
    A close examination of facts on the ground make this bare. The fact of the matter is that the most hated, minority regime is doing this on purpose. They talk double digit economic growth, fastest growing economy, etc. while making the country the poorest country in Africa, on purpose; while vacuuming its economy and sending it to foreign banks: in that we are first, that speaks for itself.

    • dt says:

      mr. john bell

      why don’t you choose a better name. like ethio-hater. Sorry,
      ur sentences couldn’t conceal the true identity of the writer.
      u r either from eri… or the so called opposition. but no way john bell.

    • Monty Poty says:

      Thanks to your ignorant people this country was merely reduced to a Webster’s dictionary of definition of “Famine.” EPRDF inherited the poorest and most instable country in the world but thanks to the visionary leadership of EPRDF, this country is roaring like the lion at ARAT KILLO. Your opinion really means squat to EPRDF and the millions of Ethiopians who are working hard to remove themselves from chronic poverty as you are a bitter tribalist who refuses to see any positive in the progress of the country.Even if Jesus descends from heaven and condons the progress in the country you still would deny it.As the saying goes “You can never wakeup a person pretending to be asleep..” What really matters most is that most Ethiopians do believe that their lives are changing for better even though it is still far from perfect as it is most other multi-ethnic societies in the continent. What matters most is that out friends in the international community whom the Ethiopian people are ever grateful and indebted for their generosity and kindness in extending helping hands. As long as they know that every dime they send is being put to good use , your ethnically slanted view of the progress in Ethiopia means nothing.

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