Traditional Education of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and its Potential for Tourism Development (1975-present).

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Addis Ababa University


The traditional school of Ethiopian Orthodox Church is full of spiritual and cultural heritages with tremendous spiritual songs, better known as 'Saint Yared's songs' and has been used as center of learning in which the society depended on for their spiritual and secular life for centuries. It is endemic to Ethiopia, no where in the world is available such an exciting, colorful, amazing and eye-catching wealth of Saint Yared's songs with their religious dance in the traditional schools. Before introduction of modem education into Ethiopia, these schools were playing pivotal role in spreading literacy to the people. People were thought the skills of reading and writing, arithmetic, art, architecture, law, governance, medication and other skills in these traditional schools. There are different schools, in which different kinds of educational specialization are offered, namely, "Nibab bet" (school of reading) which deals with skills of reading and writing. "Kidasie bet" which deals with the kind of pray during mass service. "Kine bet" which deals with highly elaborated, strict, and multiplied form of 'geez' poetry. "Zema bet" (school of hymen) deals with the hymn of St. Yared and his musical notations. "Aquaquam bet" (school of swaying and chanting) deals with the chanting of St. Yared with its typical kind of dance and musical instruments. 'Metsahft bet' (school of books) deals with the details of Old Testament, New Testament, Liqawnt and Menekosta, After passing through this entire educational system, one becomes a master of one specific school The 1974 political change from a monarchical system to a 'communist' anti -religion system has affected traditional church life at all levels, and in its place secular education has increased. The number of students coming to these schools is decreasing in an alarming rate, the greatest teachers are passing away and the would be successor youth is attracted by modem life. In 2002 there were only few "four eyed" scholars left (who has mastered the Old and New Testaments, Book of the Church Fathers and the Book of the Monks.) Because of lack of these scholars and their students, thousands of Ethiopian Orthodox Churches are already closed in the countryside. Even though some of the schools are still offering church education, it is not in the way it was performed before. If properly conducted the schools have great potential to attract tourists from any comer of the glob.



Traditional Education