An Ethiopian delegation led by Minister of Education, Shiferaw Shigutie, attended “The Education World Forum: Global Summit for Education Ministers” held in London (January 20-22). The theme of the event was “Planning for 2014: Policy-making catalyst for a decade ahead”.
The plenary sessions, whose speakers provided overviews of their country’s educational goals and achievements, covered issues ranging from reach and measurement to driving improvements in education and learning as well as the potential impact and reach of education. They stressed the need to improve learning and their belief that the use of technology would help in this. There was focus on the need to increase access to education for girls and young women who so often did not yet have the ability to go to school. The ministerial discussions raised a number of high-level issues including projects which examined the policies and actions that have worked well in different contexts and approaches that have been less successful. They reflected on issues associated with reading, writing and literacy, and the steps that education systems need to take to tackle the causes and effects of illiteracy. They focused on steps being taken to improve the accuracy and efficacy of skills and knowledge assessment with the overall purpose of supporting learning and determining progress. A panel looked at technology and innovation developments and the extent to which these could be applied in new subject areas, and at the need to stimulate real innovation.
During his visit, Minister Shiferaw held talks with Lynne Featherstone, DFID’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. Their discussions focused on strengthening the relationship between the two governments in the field of education with emphasis on education for girls, women and disabled persons. Minister Shiferaw affirmed Ethiopia’s commitment to delivering results in this area. The Minister and his delegation also visited the British Council and were briefed by senior officials on the work of the Council. Talks covered child protection in schools, improving relationship in schools and community responsibilities, the provision of effective education, education reform and measuring standards, training programs for teachers and head teachers, and for researchers as well as research in science and technology, enhancing TVET, English language improvement and digital self-access teaching and learning.
The delegation also visited the School of Oriental and African Studies and met the Director, Professor Paul Webley, to discuss building collaboration in research and training in PhD and Masters Program between Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education and SOAS. Ethiopia is interested to collaborate with SOAS in the provision of tailor-made programs for senior government officials and civil servants. They exchanged ideas on distance education and e-learning. An agreement was reached to send a group of experts from SOAS to Addis Ababa to pursue these areas of cooperation further.
The Ethiopian delegation, accompanied by Ambassador Berhanu Kebede, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.K., also visited Nottingham University where they held talks with Professor David Greenway, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, and Professor Martyn Poliakoff, Research Professor in Chemistry at the University and Foreign Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society of Science. Discussions focused on enhancing and strengthening the existing cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Nottingham University. They agreed to revise the existing Memorandum of Understanding with special emphasis on PhD programs. Minister Shiferaw also held discussions with Ethiopian students at Nottingham University.