Category: "Education"

Ethiopia - Queens college graduates 618 students

August 31st, 2008
Queens College, Addis Ababa Ethiopia Photo Yoel Herzberg

Ethiopia - Queens college graduates 618 students

Source: ENA

Queens College of Ethiopia, one of the private higher learning institutions, graduated on Saturday 618 students with first degrees, diplomas, and certificates upon completion of relevant training.

The graduates attended various lessons on Business Management, Management Information System, Accounting, Marketing, Law, Information Technology, Secretarial Science and Office Management during the course of the training.

Some 14 percent of the graduates got free scholarships.

At the graduation ceremony, Director General of Institute of Biodiversity Conservation Dr. Girma Balcha higher learning institutions shall exert utmost efforts to ensure efficient utilization of the resources of the nation toward brining about sustainable development.

Dr. Girma, who was also event’s guest of honor, urged the graduates to make use of the skills and knowledge they obtained during the training toward the overall development of the nation.

College president, Tilahun Molla on his part said the private sector and other stakeholders shall synchronize efforts toward improve the quality of education throughout the country.

Higher education institutions like Queens College shall also strive to boost the leadership and decision making role of women and their participation to the development of the nation.

The guest of honor handed over diplomas to graduates and special awards to outstanding ones.

The college has so far graduated 2,900 students trained in various fields of study, it was learned.

Yohannes Gebregiorgis, Mobile Donkey Librarian in Ethiopia- Video

August 4th, 2008

Yohannes Gebregiorgis, Mobile Donkey Librarian in Ethiopia- Video

Literacy is coming to some rural Ethiopian children on a donkey's back. In the Ethiopian town of Awassa, an Ethiopian-American man returned to the land of his birth, and is helping youngsters who are hungry for books and knowledge. VOA's Peter Heinlein has the latest in our weekly series, Making a Difference


Visit to find out how you can help


Ethiopians making a difference from archives

Ethiopian sold his own house to build a school in Ethiopia

Gebregeorgis Yohannes founded Ethiopia Reads to help children in his home country

Ethiopian Immigrant finances hospital in his Ethiopian hometown, Harar

Heart Surgeon Ingida Asfaw gives back to his native Ethiopia

Ezra Teshome a global health hero

Ethiopia Reads founder & Children books author Jane Kurtz speaks in DC area

Ethiopia has a plan to produce thousands of PhDs

May 12th, 2008
File Photo: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi with Addis Ababa University President Andreas Eshete

Growing apace in Africa

Ethiopia has a plan to produce thousands of PhDs, to teach and to spur on economic development. Linda Nordling reports

Tuesday May 13, 2008
The Guardian

Could a country that has produced fewer than 100 PhDs in the past 50 years turn into a research powerhouse in a decade? It may sound like fantasy but Ethiopia, where over half the population live on under £1 a day, is giving it a try.

It is a tall order. "Buildings grow. People don't," says the taxi driver as we pass one of Addis Ababa's many construction sites, where five-star hotels rise like mushrooms behind corrugated iron fences. It is a reminder that a good education is still hard to come by for ordinary people.

Until recently, higher education was reserved for Ethiopia's elite. Their offspring would go to Europe, the US or Russia as part of the "sandwich" degrees popular in developing countries in the 1980s and 90s. Less than 50 Ethiopian students a year were produced in this fashion and only five or six of them would be vying for a PhD.

"We calculated that we would need 400 years to fill the need of PhD-holders in our country," says Abye Tasse, vice-president for strategic planning and international affairs at Addis Ababa University (AAU).

PhDs required

Tasse is a man with a plan: to produce 5,000 PhD-holders over the next 10 years. Ethiopia needs PhDs for two reasons, he says. One is to teach its growing number of undergraduates. Twelve years ago, the country had only about 3,000 students. Last year, there were 15,000 students at the AAU alone and 13 new universities were under construction. This explosive growth has produced a shortage of qualified teaching staff. In rural areas, lectures are often given via satellite link or video.

But PhDs are also required to carry out research, he adds. Ethiopia's government hopes that investing in research and development (R&D) will promote socioeconomic development. The new PhD programmes have been designed to meet the country's development needs in areas such as peace and security, food production, biodiversity and urban growth.

The transformation has already begun in the School of Social Work, of which Tasse, himself a sociologist, is dean. When he joined the AAU in 2004, the school had been closed for three decades, and he re-opened it to a single intake of master's students. This year, there are 80 master's students and 15 PhD candidates.

One of the PhD hopefuls is Serkalem Bekele, a remarkable woman of seemingly boundless energy. Almost a decade ago, she left a promising academic career in veterinary medicine to develop what a supervisor called a "gift" for helping people in need. She started over in sociology, earned undergraduate and master's degrees, and is now halfway through a three-year PhD.

A mother of three, Bekele is exactly the kind of person who could change the fortunes of the country's poor. She cares not for the ivory towers of academia. "Higher education has been an island. This is a breaking point," she says. In parallel with her studies, she has counselled delinquent youth, set up a counselling service for AAU students, and, most recently, introduced social workers into the capital's family courts.

She finds her work immensely rewarding, but her hectic schedule means she has had to sacrifice time with her children. "It's difficult for me to go away from my family," she admits. "Especially when the children were small." Her husband, a veterinarian whom she met during her first degree, has made her life easier by taking on many of the childcare duties.

Bekele is still an exception in Ethiopia's male-dominated university world. Women were traditionally prevented from going abroad for years to study by responsibilities to their families. However, it is not only tradition that is keeping women back, she says. The low level of pay is also a disincentive. She gets paid for teaching master's students, but the paycheck - a mere 3,300 Ethiopian birr per month (£175) - does not stretch far. She and her husband make ends meet thanks to extra income from a veterinary supplies business. But a job in the private sector would double or even triple the income she receives from the university.

Joker card

Despite the lean pay, she encourages all her master's students to take the plunge and embark on a PhD. "Many of them ask me what a PhD programme is. I tell them that they become academics. And in this profession, we need academics badly," she says. The job also offers a kind of freedom. You can go into business, become a researcher or a teacher. "It's like a joker card - you can be anyone."

It is not just the students who struggle with funding. The Ethiopian government budget is straining under many conflicting pressures and although it will be footing some of the bill for the PhD bonanza, it is also seeking funding from international aid agencies.

Another problem is finding academic supervisors for the new PhDs. There are not enough senior academics in Ethiopia, so teachers will be flown in from overseas. It will be expensive, says Tasse, but more productive than flying students out of the country as in the past. "Rather than sending one student we can bring colleagues from abroad to teach 10-15 students."

Foreign tutors will come for a few months and teach full courses in blocks, to save time and money. Aron Mujumdar, a law graduate from Alabama, knows what they will face when they get there. He has been teaching law students in Addis Ababa on and off since 2005. It has not made him rich, he says, but it has been a life-enriching experience.

One challenge, he says, has been to encourage independent thought in a country where memorisation plays a big part in education. Mujumdar recalls flunking a pair of students in a closed-book exam for reproducing, verbatim, lecture notes. When the students protested that they had written their answers from memory, Mujumdar challenged them to learn, in three days, another text of the same length. Both students passed the test. "I was floored," says Mujumdar.

Ethiopia's push to produce more free thinkers may seem at odds with its reputation as an oppressive regime. The media is censored and rumours of vote-rigging followed the 2005 general elections.

Academic freedom is upheld as a "core value" in the AAU's strategic plan, and Tasse and his colleagues are lobbying the Ethiopian government for more fiscal freedom. But the path to freedom may prove long and tortuous, says a Rwandan academic who wished to remain anonymous. "Like many universities in Africa, the AAU is still very much under government control."


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Ethiopia - Tertiary Education Budget: New Campus for Dukem

May 5th, 2008

Ethiopia - Tertiary Education Budget: New Campus for Dukem

Addis Fortune

The Ministry of Education of Ethiopia(MoE) is to construct an ‘Institute of Science’ that annually enrolls close to 40,000 students in Dukem town, 37Km east of Addis Abeba.

Following a debate on whether to carry out expansion in the existing eight universities, or to construct a brand new institute, the federal government has chosen the second alternative. This was because the universities reported that they would collectively need four billion Birr for expansion.

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From 'Love Kitten' to child literacy

May 1st, 2008

From 'Love Kitten' to child literacy

-- At age 19, Yohannes Gebregeorgis borrowed a soft-cover romance novel entitled "Love Kitten" that changed his life forever.

Born in rural Ethiopia to an illiterate cattle merchant who insisted upon his son's education, Gebregeorgis had seen a few books in school. But it was the experience of having a book of his own that sparked a lifelong commitment.

Today, at 56, Gebregeorgis is establishing libraries and literacy programs to connect Ethiopian children with books.

"Most Ethiopian children have only access to textbooks in the classroom," says Gebregeorgis. "Books children read outside of school, those are the spices of education."

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