Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Ambatchew, Michael Daniel URN etd-06142004-143840 Document Title The effect of primary English readers on reading skills in Ethiopia (a study in African educational needs) Degree DLitt (English) Department English Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof P J H Titlestad Committee Chair Keywords
- British Council
- primary schools
- primary readers scheme
- readers skills
- Ethiopian education
Date 2003-10-09 Availability unrestricted AbstractFor years the quality of Ethiopian education has been lamented over and some have warned of the crises of running an inefficient educational system and its detrimental effects on nation building (Tekeste 1990:84). One of the factors in the students’ inability to benefit from their lessons is their lack of reading skills. The Ethiopian Education Sector Development Program (ESDP) is calling for the introduction of supplementary readers to reinforce the learning of English at primary level. In response, many organisations such as The British Council, CODE, Emmanuel Home and PLAN International are providing primary schools with readers. A case in point is the Primary Readers Scheme of the British Council.
This thesis examines if there is any tangible effect on the students’ reading skills by conducting a comparative study between two government schools that received a donation of primary readers and two schools that did not. To begin with a short review of the suitability of the readers selected by the teachers after an initial pilot scheme is made. Then 454 students were tested in this evaluation to check if there had been a significant improvement in the reading skills of the students in the school that received donations of supplementary readers.
It was found that there has been no significant increase in the students’ reading abilities. This is not because there is a weakness in modern theories that preach the usefulness of supplementary readers but because government schools lack the capacity to utilise supplementary readers. Most of the librarians are not qualified, while the teachers, though qualified, lack training in how to use supplementary readers and also tend to be demotivated. Moreover, the administration and running of most of the schools libraries do not allow first cycle students (Grade 1-4) to use the libraries and prohibit second cycle students (Grades 5-8) from borrowing books, thereby limiting the books’ accessibility. It is also very likely that the country’s socio-economic situation in general and the children’s backgrounds do not encourage the habit of reading for pleasure. Consequently, the Education Sector Development Program will have to make some modifications to maximise the benefits of extensive reading in the future, such as training teachers and librarians as well as encouraging supplementary reading amongst the students.
The study concludes that though extensive reading schemes produce impressive results in experimental situations, care should be taken in actual implementation of such schemes in real life. Efforts must be made to ensure the actual delivery of appropriate supplementary readers selected by the students themselves to the schools. Moreover, other important and related aspects including good school administration of libraries, training of teachers, a sustainable supply of books and most of all project monitoring and evaluation should be given due consideration.
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Please cite as follows:
Ambatchew, EM 2003, The effect of primary English readers on reading skills in Ethiopia (a study in African educational needs), PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06142004-143840 / >
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