New East African Child Development Institute in Ethiopia
Three years ago faculty in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at Texas Tech and Early Childhood Care and Education at Jigjiga University (JJU) in Ethiopia began a series of conversations about early childhood education. With the help of the Office of International Affairs, these conversations led to several trips between Lubbock and Jigjiga. Faculty Dr. Stephanie Shine, former HDFS doctoral student Dr. Andrea Parker, TTU graduate Della Frye, and HDFS undergraduate Helen Jennings began to work with Dr. Yigzaw Haile and Dr. Beide Melaku at JJU to develop early childhood curricula and training programs.
A visit to the TTU Child Development Research Center and the Center for Early Head Start by the Ethiopian team, including the JJU President, culminated in an ongoing research project on views of early childhood education in the Somali region of Ethiopia in 2017, a two-week training session of early early childhood educators in 2018, and the recent launch of the East African Child Development Institute (EACDI) at Jigjiga University.
The establishment of the East African Child Development Institute is a testament to the commitment of Jigjiga University and the Ethiopian government to establish a center of excellence with a focus on early childhood education.
EACDI aims to conduct regional and national research in the areas of infant, toddler and early childhood education, develop a model lab school, offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, conduct cutting edge research, and create partnerships with organizations to develop sustainable models of early childhood education.
The Institute will be vital to improving early education in Ethiopia, which will be the basis for improved educational outcomes through high school, leading to an educated workforce ready to propel Ethiopia forward.
The collaboration between TTU and JJU, located in semi arid regions 8,700 miles apart, is an example of Texas Tech's strategic plan in action: partnering with global communities to transform lives through engaged scholarship. HDFS is thrilled to play a role in the establishment of the East African Child Development Institute and congratulates our colleagues at JJU in taking this exciting step toward excellent in early childhood education in Ethiopia.