High-level roundtable discussion on how play-based learning can improve the quality of education in Ethiopia

Nov 29, 2022

A high-level discussion on ways of strengthening the implementation of play-based learning in Ethiopia was successfully conducted in Addis Ababa on 16th November 2022. The event marked an important milestone for the PlayMatters consortium in solidifying collaboration with the Government in support of child centered teaching approaches for children's holistic development. The theme of the event was “transforming education through play-based learning.” 

Panelists included His Excellency, Mulualem Desta, Deputy Director General from Refugee and Returnees Services, Her Excellency, Alemitu Omod, State Minister of Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, H.E Dr. Muluken Nigatu, CEO of Teachers Education from the Ministry of Education, alongside Plan International Ethiopia Country Director and Deputy Project Director for the PlayMatters project. 


Mr. Paul Timothy Mwebe, the Deputy Project Director of PlayMatters speaking to delegates of the rountable discussion. Photo: @Hayelegebreal Seyoum/Plan International Ethiopia 

The presentations all emphasized the importance of investing in teachers’ capacity and the benefits of integrating play-based teaching and learning in developing a breadth of skills like social and emotional skills which builds children's resilience from an early age.

“Pedagogy matters, Play matters” – CEO of Teachers Professional Development, Ministry of Education, Dr. Muluken Nigatu emphasized, while he spoke about teacher’s role in implementing the change envisioned to transform education. Dr. Muluken explained how learning through play is envisioned as the means and method to make learning happen, and to build skills needed in 21st century workplaces.

Media interview

Dr. Muluken, CEO, Teacher Professional Development, Ministry of Education, speaking to the media during the event. Photo: @Hayelegebreal Seyoum/Plan International Ethiopia  

While expressing her excitement of the PlayMatters project, H.E Alemitu Omod, State Minister of Women and Social Affairs stated that the project is ''building learning skills that are important for life.'' 

The discussions were followed by thematic presentations and discussions on teacher professional development (TPD) in learning through play, and ways of ensuring more inclusive education for refugee children.  

While making his remarks, the Refugee and Returnee Services Deputy Director noted that Ethiopia is among the countries hosting the highest number of refugees globally, and that 60% of refugee schools in the country are yet to meet the minimum standards for safe learning environments. He added that the lack of enough teachers, classrooms, and instructional materials, calls for collective responsibility and financial support to ensure that every child in refugee/host community/returnee settings has access to inclusive quality education. 

PlayMatters remains committed to supporting these efforts by working with the Ministry of Education, RSS and other partners to integrate play-based learning in refugee & host community schools in Gambella, Somali, Afar and Benshangul - Gumuz regions where the project is being implemented as well as through the PlayMatters Ethiopia Emergency Response Mechanism

Various media houses documented the roundtable discussion and spoke to officials from the Government and PlayMatters on the benefits of learning through play, and how it can be strengthened in education service delivery. The coverage presented play-based learning as an essential pedagogical approach to transform education, improve learning outcomes for children, especially refugees, and enhance inclusive quality education for all.

Participants of the discussion

Participants attending the roundtable discussion. Photo: @Hayelegebreal Seyoum/Plan International Ethiopia

The event, which was a prelude to PlayMatters sponsorship of the 2022 Great Ethiopian Run Children’s Race, ended with calls to action to deepen collaboration in the integration and application of play-based learning in the curriculum while ensuring inclusive education for all.


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