A team of experts from Addis Ababa, Kotebe Metropolitan and Arsi Universities in alignments with the Ministry of Education and the Addis Ababa’s Education Bureau have finalized the draft of a 74 page curriculum for the first ever talent academy in the country. The academy is for students that show aptitude in technology, mathematics, and the natural sciences but are outside of the formal schooling system.
The academy is designed to implement two paths of instruction; a formal and an informal path. The formal path is for students that have completed middle school education and comprises a joint program of the national secondary school curriculum and complementary educational programs. Meanwhile, the informal program will focus on those outside of the traditional schooling system and encourage practical innovation and special projects training.
According to experts, 5 to 10 percent of the intake of students will consist of those outside of the formal schooling system. Gifted and talented individuals are expected to come up with their own projects and produce marketable products while spending about 75 percent of their instruction period on practical learning.
Some of the courses that are outlined in the curriculum include Philosophy of Science and Technology, Robotics, Mechanics, Artificial Intelligence, Entrepreneurship and Business, and Technical and Vocational programs like carpentry and metalwork. Instruction will be provided by the Ethiopian Innovation and Technology Talent Development Institute at facilities located in the Burayu zone of the Oromia region.
The budget for the academy is estimated to be around 1.1 billion ETB and the facilities are going to take up about 7.2 hectares of land. The premises will consist of 31 classrooms, two lecture halls, an assortment of laboratories, 128 dormitories, and various libraries. Initially the academy expects to enroll 1000 sophomores. Lectures will be given in English and the working language of the Academy will be Afaan Oromo given the location of the premises.
Tirusew Teferra (PhD), project leader at the Ethiopian Education & Training Roadmap and an educational expert, suggests that the talented kids be recruited while they are still young. “To pick students with special talents from their usual social environment doesn’t hit the targeted goal,” he said. According to his statement it is important to not only educate students in academic and professional pursuits, but social interactions as well, as the aim is not only to create professionally competent citizens but holistically competent ones.