1. SITUATION OVERVIEW AND RATIONAL FOR EDUCATION IN EMERGENCY RESPONSE STRATEGY
According to Central Statistics Authority, the total population of Ethiopia is estimated at about 92 million in 2016. Ethiopia has recorded one of the fastest growing economies (at an average of 10.5%) in the Sub-Saharan Africa in the last 10 years. However, it ranks 174 of 188 countries on the 2015 Human Development Index implying a long way to go.
The Ethiopian education system follows 4-4-2-2 cycles of general education (1st and 2nd cycles of primary, 1st and 2nd cycles of secondary). Over the past 25 years, Ethiopia has performed relatively well in expanding formal and non-formal education opportunities, though ensuring the provision of quality education remains a challenge. Enrolment at all levels has improved substantially and youth and adult literacy rate increased from 27.1% per cent in 1994 to 58.5% in 2015. Primary school (grades 1-8) gross enrolment increased from 22% in 1994 to over hundred percent in 2015 in most of the regions. Before 1994, secondary school education was limited to big towns. At present, there is at least one secondary school in each Woreda/district.
Ethiopian education system is vulnerable to both natural disasters and conflict related emergencies. A review of emergency responses implemented from 2010 to 2014 shows that the number of children affected by crisis averages 250,000 annually. In addition, Ethiopia has now the highest number of refugees in Africa. Out of the 737,979 total refugees in Ethiopia, 57% are children, putting even more pressure on the Ethiopian education system.
In the late 2015 years, the country has experienced the worst drought in 30 years. The two main rainy seasons that supply over 80 per cent of Ethiopia’s agricultural yield were not successful in 2015. Rain fall delayed, insufficient and erratic in nature and resulted in failure of major crop production, also greatly affected livestock population. The Belg Assessment which was conducted under the leadership of National Disaster Risk Management Commission forecasted that the livelihood situation may remain the same until verified through Meher Assessment in Nov/Dec 2016. The drought has been followed by floods starting from May 2016 affecting education and other sectors particularly in six regions: Amhara, Tigray, Afar, Ethiopia Somali, Oromiya and SNNPR. Thousands of school-age children were at risk of dropping out. According to caseload methodology calculation which was based on data from Education Management Information System (EMIS) of MOE, the number of children and teachers affected by the crisis increased from 2.1 million in December 2015 to 4 million in June 2016.
Shortage of water and school feeding has been identified as a major contributor to student absenteeism and dropouts. Approximately 72 per cent of primary schools in the six emergency affected regions have no water available on school premises. As a result, children’s school attendance is erratic and in some cases children dropout of school entirely due to families migrating in search of water. With food shortages, schools are also struggling to continue their school feeding programs. It is estimated that about 4 million school-age children will require school feeding in the first semester of the new academic year 2016-2017. In many affected areas teachers reported a lack of student attentiveness in the classroom and low attendance rate due limited provision of school feeding.
The loss of assets and livelihoods due to the drought has also compromised the capacity and purchasing power of parents and care givers to send their children to school. Parents are unable to cover the costs of school uniforms and learning supplies (e.g. pens, pencils, exercise books). In the six affected regions over 75% of the children in classrooms were reported to lack exercise books for all subjects. It is also estimated that about 4 million school-age children will be in need of learning supplies for the new scholastic year.
Drought, flooding and communal conflicts have contributed to the rise of internally displaced people (IDP). IOM reported that 631,508 individuals were displaced due to the impact of the crisis between August 2015 and June 2016. As a result there has been an increase in the number of IDP students who do not have access to learning spaces because host community classrooms are often overcrowded. It is expected that 821,400 people will be displaced from their homes in 2016, of which 286,400 by drought, 425,000 by flooding and 110,000 by communal conflicts.
This brief situation analysis indicates that the magnitude of challenges in Education in Emergency is huge requiring support from humanitarian communities on the top of efforts from the Government. Consequently, Education Cluster reactivated in January 2016, two technical staff deployed in March and June 2016 respectively and the cluster started actively functioning under the leadership of MOE and co-chair of UNICEF & Save the Children.
Emergency response requires quick response following emergency situations. In most cases, emergency strategic responses are not for long duration like for development programs. Of course, emergency quick response does not mean that it is carried out in random fashion. It needs strong coordination among partners, systematic information management, consistent and regular assessment, response plan and implementation, monitoring and recovery plan (strategic response plan). To realize, overall emergency preparedness and response objectives and activities, Education in Emergency Response Strategy plays pivotal role. Among others, it helps to set clear EiE objectives and focus on need based areas of emergency responses. It helps to define roles and responsibilities of partners; harmonize emergency response; apply well coordinated monitoring and evaluation approach; minimize/avoid duplication of efforts; and envision long and short term recovery strategy. Moreover, this EiE 2016/17 response strategy assists to mobilize resources and systematically address challenges of education in emergency within ESDP V framework.