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Early childhood education in Ethiopia

Mother and child at Megab Health Center

Early Learning Partnership (ELP) systems research in Ethiopia

Project summary

The Early Learning Partnership (ELP) is a multi-donor trust fund managed by the World Bank. It works with countries to promote increased investment in children’s early years through research, policy planning, project design, and finance. In addition to grants made to country-level activities, ELP identifies opportunities to contribute to the global evidence base of successful approaches for scaling access to quality early learning.

The ELP Systems research in Ethiopia seeks to understand the implementation of early learning provision, including to assess how quality interventions targeted at government-provided pre-primary education have affected children’s access and learning, with particular attention to vulnerable children, including those who are living in rural and remote areas and girls.

Research Team

Lead Researchers: Professor Pauline Rose; Dr Janice Kim; Professor Tassew Woldehanna; Professor Belay Hagos; Professor Tirussew Teferra; Mesele Arraya; Chanie Ejigu

Country partners: Institute of Educational Research at Addis Ababa University; Policy Studies Institute (PSI), Ethiopia.


April 2017 – December 2021


Multi-donor funds, via the World Bank


Pre-primary education and school readiness amid the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence From Ethiopia
Kim, J., Araya, M, Rose, P. and Woldehanna, T. December 2023, Journal of Research in Childhood Education

Parental/caregiver engagement in early learning systems: Findings From Early Learning Partnership (ELP) COVID-19 eesearch in Pakistan and Ethiopia
Aslam, M., Saeed, S., Hagos Hailu, B. and Jamil, B. December 2023, Journal of Research in Childhood Education

Equitable North-South partnerships for ethical and policy relevant research in times of uncertainty: a collaborative autoethnography from Ethiopia
Yorke, L., Kim, J., Hagos Hailu, B. and Ejigu Berhie, C. 2023 International Journal of Social Research Methodology

Misalignment of policy priorities and financing for early childhood education: Evidence from Ethiopia, Liberia, and Mainland Tanzania
Kim, J., Robinson, N., Härmä, J., Jeffery, D., Rose, P. and Woldehanna, T. 2022 International Journal of Educational Research

Preschool participation and students’ learning outcomes in primary school: Evidence from national reform of pre-primary education in Ethiopia
Kim, J. 2022 Development Policy Review

Early Learning in Ethiopia: Effects of pre-primary education on school readiness. Early Learning Partnership Ethiopia Phase 2 report
Kim, J., Araya, M., Ejigu, C., Hagos, B., Hoddinott, J., Rose, P., Teferra, T., and Woldehanna, T. 2022

Persistent inequalities in early years' access and learning: evidence from large-scale expansion of pre-primary education in Ethiopia
Kim, J., Hagos Hailu, B., Rose, P., Rossiter, J., Teferra, T. and Woldehanna, T. 2022 Early Childhood Research Quarterly

The implications of COVID‑19 for early childhood education in Ethiopia: Perspectives from parents and caregivers
Kim, J., Araya, M., Hagos Hailu, B., Rose, P. and Woldehanna, T. 2021 Early Childhood Education Journal

The implications of COVID-19 on early learning continuity in Ethiopia: Perspectives of parents and caregivers 
Kim, J., Araya, M., Ejigu, C., Hagos, B., Rose, P. and Woldehanna, T. 2020 Research and Policy Paper No. 20/11

Early learning in Ethiopia: Equitable access and learning. System diagnostic report for World Bank Early Learning Program
Rossiter, J., Hagos, B., Rose, P., Teferra, T. and Woldehanna, T. 2018


Navigating uncertainty: The role of north-south research partnerships in Ethiopia’s education response to COVID-19
Louise Yorke, Janice Heejin Kim, Belay Hagos Hailu and Chanie Ejigu Berhie, National Centre for Research Methods, 27 April 2023

Learning inequalities widen following COVID-19 school closures in Ethiopia
Janice Kim, Pauline Rose, Dawit Tibebu Tiruneh, Ricardo Sabates and Tassew Woldehanna, Rise Programme, 4 May 2021

Implications of COVID-19 for pre-primary education in Ethiopia: Perspectives of parents and caregivers
Janice Kim, Pauline Rose, Tassew Woldehanna, Belay Hagos Hailu and Mesele Araya, UKFIET, 30 September 2020

The threat of COVID-19 on Ethiopia’s recent gains in pre-primary education
Janice Kim and Pauline Rose, UKFIET, 4 May 2020

Education response to COVID-19: How can basic education be implemented in Ethiopia?
Belay Hagos Hailu, UKFIET, 11 May 2020


Pre-primary education played ‘protective’ role against COVID learning losses
ThePrint, India, 16 February 2022
ANI India, 16 February 2022
Devdiscourse, 16 February 2022
Global Circulate, 17 February 2022

Pre-primary education played ‘protective’ role against COVID learning losses in sub-Saharan Africa
Faculty of Education news, 16 February 2022
Phys.Org, 15 February 2022
EurekAlert! 15 February 2022

Further information

See World Bank website: World Bank Early Learning Partnership