Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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TEKESTE Kashu Negash, Emeritus professor, Uppsala University and Dalarna University

The main objective of this paper is to analyse the Ethiopian education system that was put in place since 1941 within the context of an ideological struggle between the educational values espoused by the Orthodox Church and that of the state. The paper argues that the Ethiopian state pursued an education policy that undermined the privileged status of the imperial system and that of the Orthodox Church. The educational policies of the state also marginalized the educational functions of the Muslim institutions. This study does not, however, deal with the Muslim dimension due to the scarcity of easily accessible sources. Furthermore, the Education policy of the Imperial regime undermined the capacity of the Ethiopian society to act and interact both internally and externally in dynamic and reflexive manners. The Ethiopian state produced an elite group that was poorly linked to the values developed and espoused by the religious and non-religious institutions of the country. The education policy pursued and implemented by the Imperial system was suicidal for the system itself. The education sector of the Imperial system and the contradictions created by the education system were to a large extent responsible for the overthrow of the Imperial system in 1974. The second part of the paper examines the ideological struggle between the state and the Church from 1991 to 2015 with a special focus on the re-emergence of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, through the activities of the Mahibere Qiddusan, as an important actor in the production and formation of elites in the country. This preliminary study is based on two kinds of sources. Government policies on education and the various textbooks on humanities and social sciences are used to explain the production of elite by the state. Likewise, the voluminous studies and texts by the Mahibere Qidusan on training and education of its members is used as a basis for the examination of elite that is the process of formation. Although based on empirical sources, this paper aspires to discuss the issues of education and elite formation on a conceptual level.