By Kesete Ghebrehiwet,
FIVE years ago in 2009, the Eritrean Ministry of Education in collaboration with different development partners mapped out a program called Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) which was aimed at constructing 67 schools within 100 days, in the six regions of the country – 10 schools in the Northern Red Sea region, 13 in Anseba, 19 in Gash Barka, 18 in Debub, 4 in Southern Red Sea, and 3 in the Central regions.
In an assessment meeting held in October of that very year, the program was found to be very successful. Hence, based on the experience gained back then, the Ministry has set out to construct over 500 schools in four regions of Eritrea namely Gash-Barka, Anseba, and Northern as well as Southern Red Sea regions.
It is to be recalled that the RRI program became successful due to full participation and cooperation of communities of all regions of the country. It is the readiness of nationals in all development endeavors that has continued to be the very reason of any success story that has been registered in the country and particularly any progress registered in the education sector.
The plan to construct 67 schools within one hundred days in all regions of Eritrea seemed very ambitious at the beginning, but its successful implementation on the ground reaffirmed that no matter how vast and extensive the work plan is, it is the active participation of communities that plays a decisive role in the success of any program.
Eritrean communities are well known for their constructive engagement in every development program as workforce or as benefactors to what they believe could contribute towards a better tomorrow. It is this die hard spirit of all nationals which contributed for realization of the program within the set out time frame.
The experiences gained from a similar project have become a motivation force for the construction of huge number of schools in four regions of the country. What has been achieved back in 2009 has proven that no matter how huge a program is it is very doable in Eritrea.
What is to be reiterated is that parents who have been very eager to send their children to schools have been continuing their support for any program that is directed towards the construction of new schools. Leaving aside any personal priority, parents and generally communities have made what seemed an ambitious project an implemented fact.
Thus, believing in the active participation and involvement of communities, the Ministry of Education has planned a project for the construction of schools in the time frame between 2015 and 2016 in collaboration with Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
Thus, the workshop that has been underway starting from the morning hours of 26 December 2014 and that would continue until 28 December would highlight former experiences as leaping stone for upcoming success.
According to Minister of Education Mr. Semere Russom, representative of different development partners have witnessed, reported and documented the exemplary achievements registered in the projects carried out phase by phase under Eritrean School Development Program (ESDP).
Minister Semere said that the ministry has carried out various successful development projects in collaboration with World Bank, European Union, African Development Bank and other partners.
The endeavors exerted towards extending network of educational infrastructure has greatly impacted for balanced distribution of schools which there by gave a broader access to education for thousands of nationals in all parts of the country. The number of students who joined different institutions of education has been growing substantially and that is why a constriction of other new schools through RRI program becomes a necessity.
The RRI was assessed to be workable and timely approach introduced to give broader access to education in the remote parts of the country and it has proven to be a milestone for the implementation of such programs in the future. Would the new program for the construction of over 500 schools in four regions of the country succeed? Eritrean communities would never fail to implement a project that is aimed at bringing a difference for their own good. They would definitely redouble their contribution in the realization of set out goal.
Representative of different regions of Eritrea, who are participating in the workshop are expected to make discussions as regards design, site selection, financial issues, construction and construction materials among others. They are also expected to develop a 100 days’ work plan that is related to the construction of over 500 schools between 2015 and 2016.
The same as its preceding one, the new project seems very ambitious. Time will tell whether it would succeed or not. Depending on previous experiences, there is no doubt that the project would succeed as long as there is an active contribution of Eritrean communities residing in all sites of construction.