Ethiopia Country Research Team

The Ethiopian Country Research Team is a multidisciplinary group with expertise in economics, education, political science, development studies, anthropology, and psychology. The project is an international partnership of researchers at universities and research centres worldwide, and is coordinated by the Policy Studies Institute and University of Cambridge’s Research for Equitable Access and Learning Centre. Partner institutions include the Institute of Educational Research at Addis Ababa University, and the Ethiopian Education Strategy Centre. Other partners include the University College London Institute of Education, Cornell University, and Stockholm University.


Principal Investigator and Ethiopia Research Team Lead

Tassew Woldehanna

Tassew Woldehanna is the President of Addis Ababa University and Professor of Economics at the school. He obtained his PhD in Household Economics from Wageningen University, The Netherlands. He is a development economist mainly interested in fiscal incidence, child welfare and poverty, employment, micro and small-scale enterprise development, entrepreneurship and food security. He has published several book chapters and article in peer review journal in the area of poverty and education and health. Currently, he is the Principal Investigator of Young Lives, an international study of childhood poverty following 12,000 children in four countries (Ethiopia, India, Vietnam and Peru).  

Institute of Education Research, Addis Ababa University, Team Lead

Belay Hagos Hailu

Belay Hagos Hailu is an associate professor of education and Director of the Institute of Educational Research at Addis Ababa University. His research areas of interest are educational assessment, early childhood education, gifted education, counseling school children, and child protection. Currently, he is a research team member of the National Education Road Map of Ethiopia (2016-2030); a research team member of the study on Early Learning Partnership in Ethiopia supported by the World Bank; a supervisor of the READ Community Outreach Evaluation Study in Ethiopia led by the University of Chicago – NORC (supported by USAID); and a team member of the research on Accelerated School Readiness (ASR) led by the American Institute for Research (in collaboration with UNICEF). He is also coordinating more than eighteen educational research projects run by the staff of the Institute of Educational Research at Addis Ababa University and has co-authored one book and published articles in peer reviewed journals.

International Research Team Lead

Pauline Rose

Pauline Rose joined the University of Cambridge in February 2014 as professor of international education, where she is the Director of the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre in the Faculty of Education. Prior to joining Cambridge, she was Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report and directed two reports on youth, skills and work; and on teaching and learning. She is author of numerous publications on issues that examine educational policy and practice, including in relation to inequality, financing and governance and the role of international aid. She has worked on large collaborative research programmes with teams in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia examining these issues. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with international aid donors and non-governmental organisations, providing evidence-based policy advice on a wide range of issues aimed at fulfilling commitments to education for all.

Research Management Lead

Ricardo Sabates

Ricardo Sabates is a reader in education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and member of the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre. His research relates primarily to questions of equity in educational access and learning in sub-Saharan Africa and on second chance opportunities for drop-out children particularly in Ethiopia and Ghana. He is currently the co-investigator of a number of research projects within the REAL Centre including secondary education in Africa and has undertaken a number of quantitative projects in education including evaluations of policy reforms.


Amare Asgedom

Amare Asgedom is associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the College of Education and Behavioral Studies, Addis Ababa University. He has taught and supervised graduate and undergraduate courses in Addis Ababa University for many years. He has been involved in leading and undertaking policy research in the field of curriculum and instruction nationally and internationally. He has also widely published in refereed national and international journals in his field. He has authored one book and contributed several book chapters. At present, he is leading national research on secondary education in Ethiopia and teaching at Addis Ababa University.

Alebel Bayrau Weldesilassie

Alebel Bayrau Weldesilassie is a researcher at the Policy Studies Institute. He has also served as member of the national technical committee in different sectoral policy formulation. He has served as a lecturer on development economics and managerial economics at Addis Ababa University. He holds a PhD in Economics from Hohenheim University, Germany and was a Visiting Scholar at the University of California Berkeley, USA in 2014. His research interest broadly focuses on micro-development economics, focusing on policy and institution economics. In addition to many sole and co-authored research reports, he has published in internationally peer reviewed economics journals. He is also member of national and international professional associations.

Tessa Bold

Tessa Bold is an assistant professor at the Institute for International Economic Studies at the University of Stockholm. Her research is broadly in the area of development economics with particular interest in the area of education delivery and reform, the adoption of new technologies as well as informal safety nets and insurance.

John Hoddinott

John Hoddinott is the H.E. Babcock Professor of Food & Nutrition Economics and Policy at Cornell University. His research portfolio includes work on the linkages between nutrition and schooling and social protection and schooling. He brings expertise in the design and implementation of large scale quantitative surveys in rural Ethiopia, analysing these data using advanced econometric and impact evaluation methods, undertaking qualitative fieldwork (such as key informant interviews) and presenting these findings to government officials and its donor partners. Between 2004 and 2009, in collaboration with Professor Woldehanna at the Policy Studies Institute, he led the implementation of the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey – the most well used longitudinal survey in Africa and between 2006 and 2015, he led the evaluation of Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Programme.

Girma Lemma

Girma Lemma Fantaye is an assistant professor at Addis Ababa University (AAU), Institute of Educational Research. He worked his first degree in Pedagogical science, obtained a MA in Educational Measurement and Evaluation, and a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology with an emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education in Ethiopia. He served with the research institute as Assistant Director and Director, and as the Editor and Managing Editor of the Ethiopian Journal of Education. He is the contact person for the Africa-Asia University Dialogue Network at AAU to promote research in critical issues of education and to facilitate sharing and peer learning between African and Asian Universities. Currently, he is Principal Investigator of a thematic research project titled, “Teachers Professional Development: A Strategy to Achieve EFA Goals in 2015 and Beyond.” He is also a member of a research team that works on, “Teacher’s Professional Identity: A Comparative Study of Teachers’ Views in Selected African and Asian countries.” He has approximately twenty-five published and unpublished works.

Moses Oketch

Moses Oketch is a professor of international education policy and development at the University College London (UCL) Institute of Education. He is also the Director of the Centre for Education and International Development (EID). His research focuses on the connection between the theory of human capital and implementation of policies in the areas of economics of education, education policy analysis, and impact evaluation. Previously he worked at Vanderbilt University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and in 2012 was a Visiting Professor at University of Pennsylvania. He has also contributed to and supported research capacity strengthening in Africa through his involvement with African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) as a Senior Research Scientist and Director of Research. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focusing on economics of education.

Alula Pankhurst

Alula Pankhurst is Ethiopia Country Director of Young Lives, an international study of childhood poverty. He has a BA in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford and an MA and PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester. Alula taught for 16 years at Addis Ababa University as an associate Professor. His research interests include children and youth development; migration and wellbeing; and food security and social protection. He has co-edited books on migration and development, marginalised minorities, customary justice, natural resource management, and food security and social protection. His recent publications include co-edited books on Change and Transformation in Twenty Rural Communities in Ethiopia, The Rights of Children in Ethiopia, and Children’s Work and Labour in East Africa, as well as Young Lives working papers with colleagues on scaling up early learning in Ethiopia, understanding children’s experiences of violence, trajectories to early marriage, and whether children can combine school and work.

Caine Rolleston

Caine Rolleston is a senior lecturer in education and international development at University College London Institute of Education (UCL-IOE). He has worked on education and international development in a range of countries including Ghana, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Peru, India and Sri Lanka, and is currently Senior Education Associate for the Young Lives comparative international study of childhood poverty, based at the University of Oxford. For Young Lives, he leads the development of school surveys and research on school effectiveness. His research interests include issues in the economics of education in developing countries, educational access and equity, privatisation, learning metrics and trajectories, longitudinal studies in education and development, cognitive and non-cognitive skills development and survey design.

Tirussew Teferra

Tirussew Teferra is professor and Laureate in Special Needs Education at Addis Ababa University. He earned the prestigious International Medal Award of UNESCO Jan Amos Comenius in 2008, was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award of the Year 2013 of Addis Ababa University, and was a Senior Fulbright Research Fellow at the University of Indiana from 2003 to 2004. He is the author and co-author of scientific articles, book chapters, books, manuals and instructional materials. His research and publications are on early intervention, care and learning focusing on children with special needs. At present, he is engaged in three international collaborative research projects; “Maternal and Newborn Health and Early Childhood Development in Rural Low Literacy Settings of Ethiopia” (Grand Challenges Canada); the Accelerated School Readiness Project in Ethiopia (American Institute for Research), and “Impact of Play-based, Early Learning Curriculum Policies in Six Global Contexts" (Child Research International Team, Canada). He is currently the Overall Project Leader of the Ethiopian Education Roadmap Development Team (2017-2030).

Picture of Dawit Tibebu Tiruneh

Dawit Tibebu Tiruneh is a research associate at the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. He is part of the Ethiopia research team, working mainly on the quantitative aspect of the research and development and validation of instruments. He completed his PhD in Educational Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Prior to joining the REAL centre, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the East China Normal University in Shanghai. His research interests include the design, development and evaluation of instructional interventions for higher-order thinking skills; development and validation of research instruments; and general education in Ethiopia. He publishes in renowned international journals in the field of science education, instructional design and educational technology. He also taught for several years in the Faculty of Education at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia, where he also served as the coordinator of a teacher education program, namely the Post-graduate Diploma in Teaching (PGDT).