Katainen and Haavisto in Ethiopia: "Finland to have important role in reforming education systems in African countries"
Government Communications Department
Press release 29/2014
Thanks to an education programme supported by Finland, over 20 million Ethiopian children will receive a better education. The programme for developing the quality of general education in Ethiopia was published in Addis Ababa on 28 January, in connection with the visit of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto.
"Finland's goal is to ensure that each pupil has his or her own textbook and a qualified teacher for teaching," Minister Haavisto said in Addis Ababa.
To achieve sustainable results, the programme is also strengthening the school administration. Schools are granted school-specific funding but at the same time it is required that each school is committed to drawing up its own development plans. Funds must be targeted at measures that improve the quality of teaching.
"The reform of the Ethiopian education system is a well-suited project for Finland. We have contributed to development cooperation in Ethiopia since 1967. Development cooperation also provides an excellent basis for Finnish companies in Ethiopia and other African countries. I am confident that our reputation as a country with top-quality expertise in education may open up doors in various other business sectors in Africa, too," Prime Minister Katainen said.
The reform of the Ethiopian education system needs support because, during the past ten years, the number of pupils in Ethiopian schools has doubled and the number of teachers and schools has tripled.
"More than 95 per cent of Ethiopian children now start their first school year at the age of seven. The huge rise in the number of pupils has stretched the already sparse resources of schools to their limit and has weakened the quality of teaching," Minister Haavisto says.
The programme now started continues the programme for developing Ethiopia's education sector, which Finland supported during 2009-2013. The results of the first programme phase are promising: schools have a new curriculum and over 70 million new textbooks at their disposal, nearly 60,000 teachers have qualified in accordance with the new requirements, and over 31,000 schools have benefited from the school-specific funding. The share of pupils finishing comprehensive school, and especially the share of girls among all pupils finishing comprehensive school, has increased markedly during the programme.
Besides Finland, the co-funded programme is supported by the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education, DFID, USAID and Italy. During the next four years, Finland will allocate a total of EUR 19.8 million for the programme.
During their visit to Addis Ababa, Prime Minister Katainen and Minister for International Development Haavisto had a meeting with the President and Prime Minister of Ethiopia and with the President of the African Union. One of the visit's main objectives is to promote exports and support Finnish business activities. In Ethiopia, the ministers are accompanied by a Team Finland delegation consisting of some 30 representatives of Finnish businesses. On Wednesday, the ministers will continue to Tanzania.
Inquiries: Milma Kettunen, minister Haavisto's Press Attaché, tel. +358 40 522 9869 and Kari Mokko, Director of Government Communications, tel. +358 40 751 3281