Indigenization of Early Childhood Education (ECCE) in Ethiopia: “A goiter on mumps” in ECCE provisions
Conceptions, design, and delivery of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) need to be indigenized so that it can be more relevant, purposive and sustainable. This paper explored ECCE indigenization concerns in Ethiopia employing secondary sources and (primary) data generated through in-depth interviews with young children, facilitators, guardians (parents and grandparents), and administrative personnel in three peri-urban ECCE centers. It was noted that the contexts and experiences of ECCE are such that goals and methods of child upbringing, care, and education built in to the communities have been changing. Evidences seemed to indicate that there is, on the one hand, an apostasy from such traditional methods over the years in favor of „modern‟ practices and, on the other hand, these modern practices were introduced externally, inaccessible to a greater majority, not modern as they claim to be, and, to add pain to the sickness, are less indigenized and not rooted into the communities. ECCE policy documents and standards governing implementation didn‟t seem to encourage indigenization initiatives. Curricular materials particularly in private centers were largely imported. Although the Ministry of Education has designed a central curriculum guide, the contents seemed largely to be adaptations from others. No major initiative was observed to incorporate locally produced resources for educational purposes. Use of local languages is in fact much better in rural centers but seemed to be a serious concern in urban areas where English is more preferred. These concerns of indigenization were also evident even in the physical set up of ECCE centers as they hardly captured the community features. Hence, it was generally concluded that indigenization of ECCE was a serious concern that seemed to add a „goiter‟ on ECCE‟s existing “mumps” (i.e. the problem of access).
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