Disruptive School Reform

By Doug Eadie

During my two-week return visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this past May -- my first since 1967 -- I visited the school where I had taught ancient history and English for three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer: Tafari Makonnen (named after Ras Tafari Makonnen, as Haile Selassie was known before being crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930). Now known as the Entoto Technical and Vocational Training College, Tafari Makonnen was during my days in Ethiopia an elite public secondary school with an extraordinary record of sending its graduates on to higher education in a country that desperately needed university-trained citizens.

We Tafari Makonnen teachers were keenly aware that our students would most likely lead their country into a new era after the long reign of Emperor Haile Selassie came to an end. And the fact that the overwhelming majority of the students we taught saw education as their preeminent path to a rewarding professional career and a life of economic security -- neither within the reach of the great majority of Ethiopians -- inspired us to even greater effort in the classroom. I don’t think any of us faculty members in those days questioned the importance of our work to our students’ future lives and to Ethiopia’s future development.

Subscribers please click here to continue reading. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to purchase this article or to obtain a subscription to ASBJ.