Factors Affecting Students’ Academic Performance at Preparatory and High Schools Level in Irob

By Asefa Gebray Tesfay - An MBA Thesis, June 2017

This study focuses on the academic performance of students at prepa ratory and high school levels in Irob wereda, Eastern Zone, Tigray Regional State, which is located at 37 Km far to the East of Eritrean border. It assumed that the individual and combined results of family, socio - economic, psychological and school factors on academic performance of prep aratory/high level students’ in the study schools. The specific objectives of this study were to assess the factors that affect the academic performance of students at preparatory and high school levels of wereda Irob. For the study 218 students, 29 academic staff, 9 wereda administration officials, 14 tabia local administration officials and 5 PTA were selected by using stratified random sampling technique based on probability proportional to their number or size in each class. Pretest structured questionnaires were used for collecting the essential data and the focus group discussion, personal in - depth interviewee, and personal observation were used to crosscheck the data collected through the survey.

The data were analyzed using descriptive methods. The results indicated that the academic performance of students’ in the study area was determined by a variety of factors. Among these factors, students’ related factors such as self - motivation, lack of adequate effort and carelessness, and self - confidence were the most prominent factors that affect students’ academic performance . Moreover, on - availability of support system, lack of proper reading place, presence of role models , estimated income of the family’; parents attitude towards students education and household work responsibilities factors had a significant impact on students’ academic performance.

However, educational background of the family; occupation of household head; basic sanitation facilities; and presence of sources of support other than family and employment opportunity for educated students did not significantly affect the students’ academic performance. Therefore, policies should deal with academic performance of students and combating cultural, economic, psychological and institutional factors. In general, creating awareness through training on the benefit of education for all society members can greatly enhance the performance of students. Furthermore, arranging special tutorial classes for students on regular bases for all subjects and creating conducive environment for private language school establishment to alleviate some of the challenges affecting students’ academic performance .Therefore, it was suggested that Parents, Irob wereda Education Bureau and high and preparatory schools should be more practical in this area of improvement.

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Seyoum Berhe
Seyoum Berhe - State Refugee Coordinator (VA) with former FBI Director James Comey

Recognizing Outstanding Contribution of Seyoum Berhe

May 2017

An Immigrant’s experience: It is not every day that an immigrant from an obscure village in Africa receives award from FBI director, no less. But that is exactly what Seyoum Berhe has accomplished. Currently Seyoum Serves as the State Refugee Coordinator of the Virginia Department of Social Services, Office of Newcomer Services (VDSS-ONS) in Richmond, Virginia..

The life of an immigrant is rarely without problems. The story of people who leave their countries of origin and settle in foreign countries is best captured by literature. Literature as a vehicle for empathy helps us to understand the challenges of adjusting to new climate, culture, and realization of color for an immigrant class. Some of the notable immigrant experience literature include The Kite Runner (2003) by Khaled Hosseini, Americanah (2013) by the Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears (2007) by Dinaw Mengetsu and so on. Dinaw’s novel tells a story of Stephanos who “fled the Ethiopian Revolution after witnessing soldiers beat his father to the point of certain death. Now he finds himself running a grocery store in a poor African-American neighborhood in Washington, D.C.”.

Seyoum’s story perhaps has some resemblance to Stephanos in that he migrated to the US during Ethiopian revolutionary years but not sure if his decision for departure was motivated by family member being beaten by the militarily personnel or if he engaged in struggling small business. Real life is not always suppose to fit fiction. He received higher education in his host country and contributed to humanitarian services for extended period. And finally recruited to American civil service, ending up receiving community leadership award for his outstanding accomplishments. The FBI leaders recognize Seyoum as someone who “worked tirelessly to advance cooperation between law enforcement and ethnic and minority groups”. He is also appreciated for “helping refugees gain economic self-sufficiency and integrate into their communities”.

But there is something more enticing to Seyoum’s character than to his achievement of so called American dream. The struggle with acute awareness of “otherness” may cause him some level of suffering but also inspires intense relationship to his homeland. Perhaps that is why he is so connected with his childhood memories and places. His continuous, albeit low-profile, support to Irob schools, culture and language is in a way a proper response to an often irritating but permanent interrogation posed to an immigrant: “where are you from?”

Seyoum’s competence (certainly he is not an exception) to embrace the habits of an adapted country and also engage in level-headed activism in support of his roots makes him one of the few who can achieve the delicate balance between being an American and a foreigner at the same time. His experience can teach us how to be comfortable with multiple identities in a time when demanding loyalties are draining our energies and America is rife with "anti-immigrant agitation".




Girmay Medhin
Associate Professor Girmay Medhin

The Scientist Among Us

Ziade Hailu - Nov 2015

As western education was introduced early on in Irob, a wereda (district) in eastern Tigray, those who benefited from modern education are many but only few ended up being scientists. Among the few, Girmay Medhin comes to my mind. Of course not everybody has a vocation to become a scientist. He is an associate professor at Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University. I hear the long overdue title of professorship is only a stone's throw away. He has one of the most impressive résumé that one would die for: A degree in statistics with gold medal, double Masters Degree (MSC in applied statistics and MSC in medical statistics) and a PhD in Epidemiology from the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London.

That is not all. For any scholar publication is a must if he/she wants to be taken seriously. The cliché goes publish or perish. Your higher degrees may not mean much if your CV is not accompanied by the list of glittering journal articles. But again, not all journal articles are the same. To use and abuse G. Orwell, some journals are more equal than others. Last time I checked Girmay has authored dozen papers, and co-authored hundreds, many of them on truly competitive outlets. If Google is to be trusted his citation metrics (number of people who citied works he is associated with) goes to 2257. That in itself is not a mean achievement.

Having gone through a paper like this - "Effects of Helicobacter pylori, geohelminth infection and selected commensal bacteria on the risk of allergic disease and sensitization in…"- you may be justified accusing him for being a pedantic professor writing for other professors on a subject hardly understandable except by his tribesmen. But that is how academia operates and how our lives are saved.

Except that he doesn't wear a glasses, Girmay perfectly fits into general stereotype of a scholar; he spends long time in front of his laptop (or may be a laboratory), has no patience for vanity, and rarely excels in social life. If you are looking for public intellectual who makes pronouncements on the concept of justice or if God exists, or even a scientist popularizing the wonders of science to an initiated soul, look somewhere else. He is not your candidate. He is a man determined to expand knowledge in his own discipline.

If we have to persuade the young people to join careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Girmay's distinguished career needs to be told, perhaps repeatedly. I believe there is a serious role model deficit in our region. Those individuals on the power position to influence our young may not be our talented members of the society. For aspiring fellow researchers, Girmay's story has made our life difficult. Every time we thought we did something worthwhile, in comparison to his achievements, it becomes insignificant. With people like him, who set the bar higher and higher, one is not allowed to think small, except chase the raised bar.

Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor.1:2)

By Abba Tesfaselassie Medhin, Bishop of Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, carers, members and friends of Irob Development Association (IDA),

HAPPY EASTER to you and to all in Christ.

I greet you all with St. Paul’s words for love, grace and peace, which is the treasure of our faith and foundation of all our Christian lives expressed in the measure of our good works for the good of our brothers and sisters.

I had the pleasure of meeting with three representatives of the Irob Development Association (IDA) from Europe and United States in August of 2014. They have spent their limited time, energy and resources to meet with Irob communities in Addis Abeba, Mekele, Adigrat and Dawhan to organize and strengthen the Irob Development Association and got very good results. They shared with me how Irobs both here in Ethiopia and in the Diaspora are coming together, tirelessly working to organize and strengthen the Irob Development Association that will result in benefiting the Irob people here in our area. I am delighted to have heard that our people all over are being organized to help one another, synergizing their resources, be it ideas or material, instead of acting individually.

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IDA board members election back home

By Tesfa Hagos - June 8 2015

Even though Irobs are small in number, we are spread all over the world. I would say there are Irobs almost in all Continents. Beacuse of that we have to use modern electronic technology like messenger, viber, skype, e-mail, texting, teleconference, paltalk and all available social media on daily bases for communication. That is inexpensive and the best option we have to communicate with each other globally. Meeting in person is good but it is going to be difficult to have it every now and then due to distances in our geographical locations, work schedules and time-zone differences. As we know it is time to elect IDA executive board members back home. Please let as think as much as possible to elect individuals who can have access to the above mentioned e-communication technologies. At least we have to elect half or more of the board members with e-communication access. When we elect leaders we have also to think of their own work load, strong will to work as board member, experience, education, maturity, age....etc. This is my personal comment regarding IDA executive board members election back Home.

My Torturous Journey through Libya’s desert to Europe MS Word

By Fissha Hagos - April 4 2015

We hear that so and so made it to Israel, Saudi, or Europe, and we think the journey is easy and our lifestyle will improve soon upon our arrival. Trust me when I say this delusional belief is far from the truth and the reality on the ground is completely different than we think. To this day, I continuously pray that no one experiences the sufferings I had gone through and had witnessed others suffer in the deserts of Libya. Dear bothers and sisters, my journey through Libya was horrifying to say the list. My life was completely dependent on cruel human traffickers. I had no idea what I was getting into when I left Ethiopia. I had no clue that I had to pay a ransom to these heinous traffickers to save my precious life. I had no idea that I was going to get exploited. I did not know that my survival would be at risk. read more ....

Suitability Assessment of Water Quality of Assabol Dam for Irrigation, Fish Culture and Drinking< Purposes at Erob Wereda, Eastern Tigray; Ethiopia (PDF)

Shifare Berhe, Seyoum Leta

Abstract: The present study aimed at assessing the suitability of Assabol flood water harvesting dam for irrigation, fish culture and drinking purposes by evaluating its physical, chemical and bacteriological qualities and selected heavy metals (Co, Cd, Pb, Cu and Zn) concentrations. Composite surface water samples in triplicates were collected from the dam at various sampling points and analyzed using standard methods. Read more ....

IDA Approved for Tax Exempt Status

From IDA-Committe - Dec 8 2014

Congratulations IDA members and its supporters. IDA (North America branch) has been approved for Federal Tax exempt status under section 501(C) type 3 in the USA. For an organization to be eligible for non-taxable status, it has to go through tedious application process with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). IRS is a bureau of Department of Treasury of the US government, and it has recently informed us that our application for Federal Income Tax exemption status has been approved.

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Time for Irob Unity!

By Syum Yohannes, IDA-ISESP (Irob Scholarship and Education Support Program), communication officer - Dec 7, 2014

Recent reports and evidences indicate that Irobs are speaking the same language. Most Irobs seem to have one end-goal in mind, and that is spearheading and playing a vital role to help improve the situation our people face today in Irob land. My purpose of writing this note is to encourage everyone of us to capitalize on this opportunity to, analyze where we stand today, clarify what our hoped goal is, develop measurable tactics to ensure our goals are met, and ensure we stay the course on track. In whatever we do, our walks should be step forward. I know you are already aware of what I am trying to say here, as many of you have been striving to make it happen and even continue to do so right at this moment. But knowing is not enough until it is interpreted into practice. In this past year, we have been praising the good news from our diaspora brothers and sisters. They are united more than ever and pushing us, the folks, back home, to do the same. Of course we know all their efforts were not cost free; the time, the knowhow, the monies spent, all these come with cost. However, its fruits are priceless. Helping ones own community, the needy, the disadvantaged, is selfless and satisfying gratitude that is worth all the hard work. It is a privilege to be in a position to help others.

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Our Names Matter a Lot

Abraham Tesfay - Dec 1, 2014

If someone does not know your name or are not sure about it they ask you for your name. You introduce yourself and then they call you by the name you told him. If one forgets it he/she has the right to ask for it again, politely; “I am sorry, what was your name again?”. You tell them until it is well recorded in their memory. It is fine to repeatedly tell them if they are not memorizing it yet. What is not fine, however, is when this person tries to tell you what your name is and insists on that, a name different from what you told him/her. This is wrong because no one knows your name better than you.

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About Irob Songs and Music Art Development

Abraha Tesfay - June 9, 2014

It is really encouraging to see that, if you google search or YouTube search, it will give you multiple Irob song options these days. Tremendous efforts & development has taken place in the last 10 years in this regard. Artistic and creative young irobs are emerging from time to time with pleasing poetic & rhythmic native & modern Irob songs.

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Contemporary Information About Irob

Guelay Welde - May 2014

Irob is one of the districts/werdas in the Tigray Region of the northern Ethiopia. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north & east and by Afar regional state to the southeast. The landmass of the district covers about 850 square km. Irob has about 1,269.6 ha of arable land and about 6,946 ha of grazing land, 4,092 ha of which being a free grazing land; vegetation areas comprise of 14,640.5 ha and cactus trees cover 28,085 ha.

The district administration is divided into seven peasant associations and 28 kushets of smallest administrative structures. The total population of the district is around 31,031 (15,695 female and 15,336 male). There are about 6,900 households of which 2,931 are women-headed households. The population of under 15 years of age of (0-15 years) constitute 49.73 percent. The age group between 15-64 years is about 47.02 percent while the elderly population (65 and above) accounts for 3.25 percent. Economically, 90% of the population is based on agriculture.

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Saho - The language of Irob people

Hagos Gebrai - May 4, 2014

The native langue of Irob people is Saho. It is part of the Cushitic family of the Afro-Asiatic language. Saho is spoken both in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and its dialect is similar to that of Afar language. Ethnic Irobs are the only Ethiopians who speak Saho.

The Saho language in itself is not in danger of extinction since about 250k Eritreans continue to speak and preserve it in a well-coordinated manner. However, it will require a robust conservation plan to preserve Saho among the Irob people in Ethiopia.

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Education and Irob People

Abraha Sibhat - May 1, 2014