Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Frances Goldman


Despite Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth and its attempts at different educational models, there is a significant problem with junior secondary school education and student academic performance. The purpose of this study was to explore teachers’ perceptions of junior secondary school education in central Ethiopia and what innovative academic approaches are necessary to increase student academic performance. The study used self-determination theory as its foundation. The main research question was focused on junior secondary school education, current policies, and students’ academic performance. A nonprobability purposive sampling method was used to select 10 teachers from two schools. The study used semi structured interview questions and observations for the data collection. The findings of a five-step thematic data analysis method revealed a gap in junior secondary education. The results indicated that the key factors in low student academic performance include weak educational policies, teachers’ incompetence, lack of educational resources, students’ low motivation, lack of parents’ involvement, unproductive school leadership, unhealthy relationships, inconducive school environment, and absence of school support. The study has implications for positive social change as the knowledge of effective educational approaches is helpful to policymakers due to its emphasis on students, teachers, parents, and school leaders. The findings may be used to develop new educational strategies to increase students’ academic performance and support teachers and school leaders in central Ethiopia.