Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
OPENS DEBRE BERHAN TEACHER TRAINING CENTRE
By establishing for our people educational institutions ranging from the elementary level to that of a University College, we have enabled their natural intelligence to be reinforced by acquired knowledge. In this our object has been to raise their standard of living, for in so far as they profit from the education they receive, so may they improve their material resources.
Our efforts in this sense are being fulfilled as far as the children and young people are concerned. But we feel it incumbent upon us to take thought also for those other folk who, by reason of their age, or of their occupation or position, are unable to receive the advantage derived from modern education. It was to give practical expression to this thought that we previously issued instructions indicating that all our people should acquire fundamental education; that they should read and write Amharic, the official language of the country, and if possible learn additional subjects in foreign fields. Since these instructions were issued, basic education is progressing satisfactorily, and people are frequenting schools assiduously and in large numbers.
The products of learning and knowledge, then benefit the life of mankind; and these fruits of education to the cultivation of which we ever devote our energies should be shared by all our people throughout our Empire. However, to obtain this objective, capable teachers must be secured; it was in the pursuit of this aim, that we directed this building to be constructed as a special Teachers Training Centre. Now that the work of construction is finished, and that of instruction has begun, we give thanks to the Almighty, who has granted to us to preside today over the ceremony of its inauguration.
Must Ripen and Mature
So far, through the existing education facilities, not only have many children and adults been spared from being branded as illiterates, but many too are they who have reached the University level and completed their studies there. Folks crowd the doors of centres of learning, and a number of them pass in and out of them; but that is not enough. What we desire for our people in future consists of three main objectives: First, that every Ethiopian may be spared from illiteracy; second, that through the development of his own inborn capabilities he may become not a liability but an asset to his nation, and a benefit to himself, to his neighbourhood, and to his country; third, that he must ripen and mature in knowledge and education, and pass them on to posterity. In addition, in this day and age, he must keep far from his mind the belief that he knows quite enough. The educated person will consider and weigh the welfare of the individual and the community, and will form critical judgements, while retaining the fear of his Creator.
For the higher educational institutions which, with much effort, we have established — such as the Agricultural College, the Building College and the University College — enough students have not been found. In several countries of the world we see persons who do work of various kinds during the day, in order to get the necessary money to live by, in the evening they devote their time to study, and to reach a sufficient level of education to qualify as doctors or engineers. Such men, who have the love of learning in their hearts, show us how age need not prove a hindrance. Therefore you should strive assiduously to make yourselves, by education, worthy men; and for this it matters not whether it be by day or by night, nor whether you be child or adult, man or woman.
As the Gospel tells us, a house built upon strong foundations can never be overthrown by storms. Similarly, when people are built up with minds well formed by education and knowledge, no trial of whatever kind can conquer them. Therefore, as regards the teachers who go forth from this Centre, prepared for the tasks ahead, it is our hope that they will advise, help and teach their brothers living in the country districts, in matters of health, of husbandry, of handicraft, and in other useful spheres, placing the knowledge they have gained from new cultural methods at the service of each and every Ethiopian.
As for Ourselves, in every task wherein We labour, Our chief aim is that Our beloved people shall, during Our reign, proceed apace along the path of culture, improving their individual condition and living a life of peace, prosperity and happiness.
And when we say that, it is essential that our people should fully understand the following point. Unless each beam be sound, the whole structure of a house cannot be firm; and so, unless each Ethiopian citizen improves his own individual lot by culture, educating himself and his children, and making his family healthy and prosperous, capable and industrious, he cannot benefit his beloved land and the realm of Ethiopia. Similarly, if a man is sick, in one part of his body, his whole constitution is upset. It is the same with a people. Unless each man’s life be complete, displaying education and prosperity, the people as a whole cannot share in common a flourishing existence, nor can it give its government cause for pride. It is for this reason that we place our full hope in the teachers who go forth from this Centre — that through them, our people may receive, in respect of their individual lives, the help which we wish to be extended to them.
In the planning of this Community Education Teachers Training Centre we have received assistance from persons who have experience in this field, and to them — the experts of Point Four and of UNESCO — we express our thanks. We are convinced that the work wherein they have collaborated with us will prosper.
We sincerely thank the U. S. Government for its assistance in the establishment of this school. We also appreciate the good words expressed by H.E. the U.S. Ambassador and for the spirit of co-operation he has shown.
It is, therefore, with deep satisfaction that we inaugurate and declare open, the Community Education Teachers Training Centre at Debre Berhan.
April 26, 1957.
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December 21, 2016