By Concerned Oromo Group | September 14, 2019
The Ethiopian Ministry of education has recently announced the so-called Ethiopian Education road-map. The road-map is allegedly designed to bring sweeping changes to the country’s education policy, including changing the current 8-2-2 education system to the 6-2-4 system. In the 6-2-4 system, the students spend six years in elementary school, two years in middle school and four years in high school. The 6-2-4 system was a standard policy in Ethiopia’s education system until the EPRDF government changed it into the current 8-2-2 system about two decades ago. Like many other policies, the Ethiopian education policy has been changing with the change of government, which is often driven by political motives than the needs of its citizens. It is unfortunate to witness that the Ethiopian education system is once again, becoming the center of a political maneuvering. This redesigned education road map is simply a manifestation of the EPRDF government’s plan to use education policy to target groups that have been marginalized for centuries.
Historically, successive Ethiopian rulers, mainly from the northern part of the country (aka Abyssinians) have been using the education policy as a political tool against the Oromo people and other oppressed nations in the Southern and Eastern part of the country. Education policy is one of the many ill designed policies that the Abyssinian rulers used to discriminate against the oppressed ethnic groups for over country. The intention of the Ethiopian rulers is to keep the oppressed people, in the dark or illiterate and rule them forever. Socioeconomic marginalization, such as banning the Oromo people from practicing their culture and religion are also a few of the many tactics that the Ethiopian rulers used against the Oromo people. Most of the strategies are still being implemented despite the sacrifices that the Oromo people made to bring a democratic change to the country.
Teaching Oromo kids about their language, culture and identify has been perceived as a threat to the past Ethiopian governments. Therefore, they banned the Oromo people and other nationalities from learning about themselves in their own language. The current social media campaign by the Amhara group against the establishment of the Oromo Orthodox church in Oromia is just another example of their unreadiness to accept a simple reality that the Oromo people have the right to practice their religion in their own language or any language for that matter.
The educational road map recently announced by the ministry of education in fact; imposes the Amharic language on Oromo kids and others. This policy is not only unconstitutional, but it is also an attempt by the government to dismiss the outcome of the people’s struggle for justice and equality in the country. For those of us who have been watching the actions of the current Ethiopian government closely, this action is nothing but a confirmation of what we suspected all along- that the current government is the same old dictatorial EPRDF camouflaged as a reformist. The current government did not only fail to learn from its mistakes but is also setting the stage for catastrophes that may follow due to its misguided actions.
Imposing the Amharic language on all kids across the country, coupled with the media campaign against a religious freedom unravel the government’s (or its affiliates’) plan to secretly implement the outdated Abyssinians one language, one religion, one flag and one identity political fantasy. Therefore, enforcing Amharic language to be taught in all schools across the country has no place in this modern Ethiopia. As stated in the Ethiopian constitution, all nations and nationalities, as a member of the federal system, should have the right to educate their kids with their own language. Any policy that does not realize this simple fact should be rejected by everyone at all levels.
Therefore, we the concerned Oromo group unequivocally rejects the so-called Ethiopian educational road map announced by the ministry of education and its intent. Such an evil intent of the few has no place in a country that pursues a multiethnic federalism and their policy has never served our people in the past and will never serve the interest of our people in the future.
Therefore, we call upon:
1. The Oromo people, specifically the Oromo youth, to reject this so-called educational road-map policy from being implemented at any level. Never allow any policy that fails you from educating your own kids about your culture, and identity with your own language;
2. All elementary, middle and high school teachers in Oromia to firmly oppose such educational system and to refrain from teaching a policy that outlaws you from teaching your own kids with your own language;
3. All Oromo political parties to unambiguously stand against such policies;
4. All people of Ethiopia to reject the currently redesigned educational road-map; that doesn’t serve the interest of all of the people of the empire. The current policy imposes the Amharic language on your kids and such policy is nothing but an extension of the unitary policy of the emperors. Therefore, we should stand together and oppose any government policies that do not reflect the interest of all the people of the empire; and
5. We would also take this opportunity to call upon the government of Dr. Abiy Ahmed to refrain itself from interfering into religious matters. As clearly stated in the Ethiopian constitution, the government should be out of the religion business, including the currently on-going issue in the establishment of the Oromia Orthodox church in Oromia. All the people of the empire have the right to worship their God with their preferred language.
In summary, any policy designed or redesigned without the involvement of the people that the policy is supposed to serve is destined to fail. The current educational road map is not immune from such a failure. Therefore, with this opportunity, we would like to advise the Ethiopian government to rethink about the current education policy and perform a due investigation into the matter with respect to the interest of the people before rushing to its implementation.
Justice for All!!!
The Concerned Oromo Group
September 11, 2019