The Ethiopian Youth Educational Support EYES is a locally registered non-government organization (No128) - NGO, responsible to a local Board. EYES acts as A-CET’s Ethiopian national implementing partners.
EYES have agreements with local NGOs OSSA - Organization of Social Services for Aids who help Aids orphans, Circus Selam a voluntary group and the MOPC Makale Ortho-Physiotherapy Centre who treat all disabled children in the Region. EYES also has an agreement with the the Bureau of Labour & Social Affairs BoLSA. This is a government agency with representatives at village level and is able to identify, manage and support needy orphans.
Through these organizations EYES, in addition to its own 350+ direct scholarship students, is helping a further 350+ AIDS orphans attend full-time education through OSSA and 40 children through Circus Selam. For these children to be able to attend school is an almost magic life-changing experience and all love school.
EYES is managed and run by Bisrat Mesfin as Manager and Board Chairman supported by Assistant Manager Binyam Leake & Finance Clerk Eyesu G/Michael. All are A-CET alumni so well understand the backgrounds and situations of our students. Our policy is to delegate responsibility to Ethiopians, who are far better suited and able to identify what needs to be done and how to achieve it, EYES now selects all students and educational projects through local agencies. Bisrat & Binyam are responsible through the EYES Board to A-CET for all finances and administration of all Ethiopian students and projects. The EYES Board are three leading local volunteer professionals involved in government, health, and tourism - with David as an ex-officio member.
EYES are now supporting thousands of children plus undertaking over-sight of two rural school upgrading projects. EYES now has a small rented office and their own 4WD vehicle which help them manage their work in an efficient and effective way.
Currently EYES supports a 48/52% ratio of boys to girls - of whom now over 20% are disabled and 85% full orphans. All students are vulnerable and without our support, few would be able to attend full-time school. We are helping them to be strong, independent, confident and responsible. For A-CET it is both our pleasure and privilege to be in partnership with such dynamic, hard-working, intelligent and totally committed EYES staff and Board members.
Without exception every Ethiopian is desperate to attend school. To do well at school is to gain the highest acceptance with your peers. School enrollment is at seven, although some start earlier. As age in the country is often assessed by height and teeth! Private fee-paying kindergartens are in cities & some rural market towns.
Government schools are elementary Grades 1 to 8, secondary 9-10 and after by pre-selection to pre-university 11 & 12. Classes in cities are in shifts, morning, afternoon and evening. Class size officially is 50 but often is very many more. There are few special facilities for disabled students.
Every year a student must pass a promotion exam, at Grades 6, 8 & 10 these are nationally assessed, otherwise they are regionally assessed. Failure means repeating a year, after a second failure the student can no longer attend a government school. There are no school fees in Government Schools. Students must provide their own books and writing instruments. In cities most schools insist on uniforms and children need footwear, these are not free. In cities there are a number of fee-paying private commercially run schools managed by churches or charities. These have to be accredited by the Government Bureau of Education and are of a high standard. Students can move between the government & private sector, but with difficulty.
The Grade 10 exam (School Leaving Certificate) can not be retaken and after Grade 10 students are streamed into pre-university (Grades 11 & 12) or Technical & Vocational Education Training Colleges (TVETs). TVETs cover artisan trades, physical education, teaching, catering, art, secretarial & computer science or IT. Entry level grades are continually being revised upwards as more students pass through the system and government college/university expansion is unable to accommodate all would-be entrants. For girls and in some less developed regions they have lower entry levels. TVETs offer Certificate Course for two years or Diploma Courses for three years. A number of private fee-paying colleges offer the same Certificate/Diploma courses for those unable to gain entry to government TVETs. University is from three to six years, dependent on the course.
Undergraduates are not always given either their choice of course or location of University. Attendance is principally free, but students must “pay back” after graduation when in employment. There are a few newly accredited private fee-paying Universities, although currently their degrees do not have the same standing as those from government universities.
Every Ethiopian is desperate to attend school and beyond. Whilst the educational system is tightly controlled, every child may “adjust” their age, where they live and tell the most convincing tear-jerking stories to get admitted. To all Ethiopians, education and those qualifications it offers is their panacea for all ills.