Monday, March 09, 2015

Pay rise in India hits Ethiopia

(Mar 09, 2015, (New Delhi))--Gennet Zewide's face broke into a smile as she recalled her primary school English teacher from the 1960s in Ethiopia - a man from India with a booming voice who could make the naughtiest students in class pay attention.

To a generation of girls in her school, the teacher was an introduction to a different culture. His Indian lineage made students take him seriously, said Zewide, Ethiopia's ambassador in New Delhi and the longest-serving foreign envoy currently posted here.

As she sat near the window of her office at the Ethiopian embassy on a sunny spring morning, Zewide's smile transformed into a frown as her mind flipped from happy primary school memories to a worry in the present. Ethiopia wants a fresh tide of Indian teachers to teach students and train local instructors. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said at least thrice that he wants India to "export teachers" to other countries.

But what could have been a perfect match between Ethiopia's needs and Modi's ambitions is proving a struggle for Zewide in her search for today's avatars of her teacher - a hunt equally about sustaining a decades-old bond between the people of Ethiopia and India.

An unprecedented spike in India's teacher wages in recent years, and expectations of another hike in 2016, have dimmed the sparkle of Ethiopia's once-lucrative offers to Indian tutors, traditionally used to abysmal salaries in their own country. Read more from Calcutta Telegraph »

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