The aforementioned quote crystallized the educational plight for orphans and vulnerable children in Ethiopia for me. I began the first two days of my trip to Ethiopia visiting schools in an effort to gain a better grasp of the education system in Ethiopia for the poor. All of the schools I visited were formally public schools yet are now considered governmental schools. Their student body consists of poor and marginalized children—orphans and children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Before I toured the school, a meeting was held with the school’s administration and staff. What follows are my notes from that meeting:
• Average class size is 57—not teacher’s assistance, simply 1 teacher with 57 students.
• 3 to 4 students to a desk
• Girls typically drop out more, as they need to care for ill family member and/or support the family (financially)
• The school day is 8 AM to 3 PM. Each class is 45 mins.
• Student’s major difficulty is poverty: lack of food and adequate shelter
• “A student’s background is critical they don’t get enough meals a day. They are not in the best health to learn.”
• Lacking of school materials thus cannot conduct experiments or apply learning.
• 1 computer for 2,000 students. Only the top 120 students get training in computer, and they share that 1 computer.
• 1 microscope for 2,000 students to use.
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