Ethiopia has a fragmented ethno-linguistic landscape and education policy in recent decades has attempted to enforce the language rights of students. This paper seeks to answer if a child’s linguistic identity is a significantly associated with where they sit in the classroom in Ethiopia? Classroom seating placement is an important component of the learning experience as it refers to the child’s proximity to the teacher, blackboard, and centre of learning. Data from the latest release of the Ethiopia Young Lives Study allows for the specification of a multinomial logistic model to test the association between a child’s linguistic group and where a child sits in a classroom, while controlling for confounding individual and household level factors. The results show the child’s native language can be a significant determinant of classroom seating. Minority language speakers (with the exception of Oromifa speaking students) tend to sit away from the front of the classroom when compared to the majority, Amharic speakers. These findings add to the body of research by looking beyond traditional primary educational outcomes such as enrolment and test results to examine the seating patterns of linguistic speakers within the classroom.
Jeannet, A.M. Linguistic Groups and Classroom Positioning in Ethiopian Primary Schools: New Evidence from Young Lives. Young Lives, Department of International Development at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK (2011) 19 pp. [Young Lives Student Paper]