Early Childhood Care and Education in Rural Ethiopia: Current Practices, New Initiatives, and Pilot Programs

  • Teka Zewdie
  • Belay Tefera


This study examines the current urban and private-based modern practices of early childhood care and education and the traditional priest schools, the new (Zero-Grades and Child-to-Child) initiatives of the Ministry of Education launched in a bid to improve access, and the civil societies-initiated preschool programs that are under piloting in rural Ethiopia. While the existing urban-based Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) was arguably presented to be externally introduced and had western orientation in many ways, the priest schools, Zero-Grades, and Child-to-Child, despite several implementation constraints that surround them, were believed to be contextually relevant, feasible, scalable and sustainable in many ways. On the other hand, the civil societies-initiated pilot ECCEs seemed to stretch the features of urban-based ECCEs to a rural setting and, hence, were found to be expensive, less responsive to local realities, and seemed to have less prospect for sustainability. It was suggested that the future of rural ECCEs rather be envisioned within the framework of low-cost and context responsive programs conveniently encompassing priest schools, Zero-Grades, and new kebele-initiated preschools in every woreda such that Child-to-Child initiative be used in conjunction with each of them so as to augment their outcomes. Civil societies were also suggested to work towards supporting such initiatives in different ways rather than working to create model ECCEs not aligned with rural realities.


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ZEWDIE, Teka; TEFERA, Belay. Early Childhood Care and Education in Rural Ethiopia: Current Practices, New Initiatives, and Pilot Programs. The Ethiopian Journal of Education, [S.l.], v. 35, n. 2, p. 111 - 161, nov. 2015. ISSN 2523-0980. Available at: <http://ejol.aau.edu.et/index.php/EJE/article/view/665>. Date accessed: 19 sep. 2018.
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