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ETHIOLING: Vernaculars in Ethiopian Schools (completed)

The project studied the use of four local languages, mother tongues, in primary schools in three Ethiopian regions with specific reference to the linguistic difficulties that learners face. 

About the project

Ethioling was a joint research project on the new Ethiopian educational policy and its implementation with specific reference to the use of local languages in schools.

Since 1991 the new political structure of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia has recognized the right of nations, nationalities, and people to develop their languages for primary education and other functions.

Consequently, 20 out of the 80 languages are now used in schools as a medium of instruction. However, except for Amharic, the rest have mainly been spoken languages, not written. Therefore, there are problems of implementation related to attitudes, standardization, curriculum, teaching material and manpower.


The aim of the project was to develop a general framework in light of which the situation in other regions within and beyond the country could be studied for a more global understanding of the phenomena.

The project had research and training components, the former focusing on ethnographic and linguistic descriptions of the languages of instructions, and the latter developing the competence of the personnel in the Department of Linguistics and in the regions under study.

The research was based on empirical data collected through questionnaires, interviews, and classroom observations in addition to surveying available documents.




The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU), previously NUFU.


Addis Ababe University

  • Baye Yimam, co-administrator
  • Zelealem Leyew
  • Abbebe Gebre-Tsadik
  • Hirut Wolde-Maryam
  • Moges Yigezu


Network for research and evalution on education and development (NETREED)


Published Oct. 5, 2020 2:14 PM - Last modified Jan. 29, 2021 2:10 AM