The genocidal war has decimated Tigray’s education. Education in Tigray stopped when the COVID-19 pandemic started and continued through the war on Tigray, making Tigrayan students and children out of school for more than three years. A 2021 study on the education sector in the part of Tigray that is under Tigrayan control found that 88.3% of classrooms have been severely damaged, 2,164 students and teachers have been killed, and 63% of books have been damaged. More is destroyed and more killed on the second phase of the war in 2022. On the part of Tigray under enemy control, the numbers are certainly much higher.
But the most shocking is the impact of the genocidal war on Tigrayan school children. A 2023 study on this found that 70% children thought they would die from hunger, 72% experienced shooting at a very close distance, 62% expected they would be killed, 44% saw a dead body, 29% saw someone being killed, and 80% teachers experienced PTSD.
These studies show the devastation of the education sector, but there are additional problems these studies don’t cover. Many of the schools are hosting over a million displaced persons, many teachers have fled Tigray, many students have lost interest in education, many students that should have gone to college are yet to learn and sit for exams, and many new students must enroll to catch up. The challenges facing the education sector are enormous. Yet, many schools have officially resumed classes, under trees, on open fields, on the side of their destroyed schools. Only a fraction of students and teachers are back, the teachers have no salaries and, teachers and students have no materials needed for teaching and learning. But most significant is the loss of interest in education of the students.
We need to overcome hopelessness and rekindle hope in Tigrayan students and children. To do so, we need to tap into our past inspirational and success stories. We need them to inspire us, to move us, to learn from them and to use them to rehabilitate the education sector, to inspire students, teachers and their communities.
When we think of success stories in education in Tigray, Kellamino Special High School stands out. Since its founding in 1998, Kellamino Special High School has had a special place in Tigray’s education. It was the dream of Tigrayan elementary school student across Tigray. To join Kellamino was a pride for yourself, your family, your school and your community. If you joined Kellamino, you were a legend at your school and in your community. Many sweated to join it, some joined it and have been nourished in it and its alumni are found everywhere today.
But the most important role of Kellamino was its inspiration for Tigrayan students and society. It inspired Tigrayan elementary schools and their students for educational excellence. It instilled the love of learning and excellence, fostered a healthy culture of educational competitiveness among schools and students and, in doing so, positively influenced Tigrayan students and the broader society.
This questionaire aims to understand what Kellamino meant for you, your school and your community during your elementary school years. To fill in the questionaire, you don’t need to be an alumnus. Please help us by honestly filling it and sharing it with others to fill in.
Click the link below to fill in. Where you need to write, feel free to use either English or Tigrinya.