Practical Physics Teacher Training Centres in Ethiopia

12 February 2015

The Ethiopian Ministry of Education plan to set up 4 Regional Physics Training Centres has continued throughout 2014. The Head Quarters in Addis Ababa was set up in 2012 and physics and electronics training sessions were provided at the Centre.


There have been 3 sessions during 2014 as part of the process of setting up 4 Regional Training Centres. The first two courses were sponsored by the IOP with one at Mekele in the Tigray Region (April) and the second at Bahir Dar (August) in the Amhara region both of which are in the north of the country. The third course of the year took place in November and was independently sponsored which set up a Centre in Hawassa in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples, SNNP, region about 267km south of Addis Ababa. A visit was made at the end of the training sessions to a COSTA Foundation school in the Oromia region that could be used to establish an additional Training Centre.

The usual 5-day IOP practical physics training session was delivered to 19 Ethiopian Secondary school Grade 9 and 10 teachers during the week Monday 3rd to Friday 7th November 2014. There was a mix of experience with some relatively new teachers (3 to 5 years) and more experienced 15 and 28 years. Also, on this occasion there were 3 women physics teachers. The full training session was also attended by 2 National Teacher Trainers who took part in presenting most of the experiments except for the electronics with which yet they do not feel sufficiently confident. Two other trainers also attend the first two days and delivered some of the presentations. A technician and Education Bureau physicist also attended the course.

The course includes elements to cover a range of aspects of practical physics:
• Safety – for example not looking at the sun through lenses,
• Teaching methods – how to engage the students,
• Preparedness – how to be well organised to give a good demonstration


The teachers were encouraged to think about the methods that they might use to present practical physics demonstrations and exercises to pupils in the classroom. They were trained to consider the design of experiments, how visible a demonstration might be to large classes, methods for keeping student engaged in the activity and basic risk analysis for health and safety issues.

Each of the 5 groups of teachers conducted the experiments and at the end results were collected together and a discussion took place about the reasons for any differences. This is important because their experience is only theoretical and experimentation highlights issues of accuracy, precision and errors with which they are generally not familiar.

On the final day, one teacher from each of the 5 groups presented an experiment selected from the experiments demonstrated during the week. The teacher demonstrations were of the acceleration down a slope, waves using a slinky, full wave rectification, the resistance of a filament lamp and the use of a multi-meter.

At the end of the course, the teachers completed feedback forms and during the closing ceremony they were presented with their course certificates.

Like the previous training sessions in 2014, the feedback was very positive.
The shortage of equipment in their schools remains a problem for them with 35% of responses indicated they wanted equipment.
25% said that they wanted more training and 25% wanted more support with the suggestion that all physics teachers in Ethiopia should receive this training.