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Volunteer OverseasVolunteer Overseas

Volunteer Teaching in Ethiopia

Teaching English and Other Subjects
  • Placement locations: Addis Ababa
  • Types of schools: Elementary, High Schools, Language Schools
  • Age of students: 5 - adult
  • Class sizes: 30 - 40
  • Role: Teacher or teaching assistant (English), teacher in Language Schools (French)
  • Requirements: None
  • Extra-curricular roles: Drama, Music, Sports
  • Accommodation: Host families
  • Length of placement: From 4 weeks
  • Start dates: Flexible

English Teaching volunteer in a lesson with school children in Ethiopia

Only two decades ago, Ethiopia was ravaged by massive famine and cruel conflicts that left the population decimated and facing a bleak future. In the last few years Ethiopia’s government has made both Education and Health its top priorities. New schools are opening all the time, and the aim is to dramatically increase the number of children attending elementary and high school. But there is still a long way to go. Published reports have estimated that 68% of children attend elementary school and just 16% complete their high school education.

The rapid growth of the capital, Addis Ababa, and the emergence of a small Ethiopian middle class has made learning English a necessity for students wanting to enter into higher education, or to find a job with one of the capital’s many international employers. English teaching in all schools is now being accorded increasing importance, particularly by the new generation of young ambitious Ethiopians who are striving to improve their country’s place in the world, as well as their own.

Volunteer teaching in Ethiopia is an ideal way to help out with this vital development effort. Our international volunteers work in some of the most poorly resourced schools in Ethiopia. You can gain work experience without a formal teaching qualification and we do not require you to take a TEFL. Whether you want to volunteer teach during your gap year, career break, or as part of an extended vacation, you will have a role to play on one of our worthwhile teaching projects.

Volunteering as a Teacher in Ethiopia

A class of Ethiopian school children meet their volunteer teacher

The lingua Franca, Amharic, hasn’t developed sufficiently to adapt to the wealth of new words used in fields such as Science and Technology, and as a result, English is the main language used in business and education. In accordance with this, all subjects are taught in English from grade 7 (age 12) on. This means that it is especially important that children in Ethiopia get a good grounding in English from an early age, which gives you some idea of how precious the gift of your time and enthusiasm will be if you chose to teach here. Often the teachers will have limited English themselves and you will be popular if you spend some time helping them as well.

As a teaching volunteer in Ethiopia you will usually work with children aged between 10 and 18. You will make an important contribution by improving the students’ conversational English and giving them the confidence that comes from being able to communicate with a native speaker. For the students, the increased exposure to spoken English will enable them to advance their language skills and brighten their future.

As well as teaching English classes, as well as classes in other subjects, you can also get involved in extra-curricular activities, from singing to coaching soccer. There are many other possibilities, limited only by your own skills and interests. Be sure to tell us if you have any particular interests in your application.

We also offer placements in language schools for volunteers who are interested in teaching high school graduates and adults. Helping them improve their language skills will boost their career prospects and contribute toward raising their quality of life.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Ethiopia Teaching Management Plan.

Volunteering at a Teaching Placement in Ethiopia with Projects Abroad

As a teaching volunteer from a foreign culture you should not have too much trouble encouraging your students to speak. They will be eager to learn all about you, your family and friends, so take advantage of this enthusiasm right from the start.

The impact you have on the lives of your students will be obvious and long-lasting, but you will also be part of a much wider international volunteer network, which is making a really positive contribution to the communities in which we work.

Teaching in Ethiopia will open your eyes to the diverse nature of Ethiopia’s culture and its people. In Addis Ababa, you will live with an Ethiopian host family for the duration of your placement. They will welcome you into their home and teach you the local culture and traditions. You are likely to find yourself giving further informal English lessons to the members of your host family, who will be eager for you to learn a little of their own language in return, which is a fantastic way for you to get to know each other.

Teach French Teach Physical Education Management Plan

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