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Ethiopia: Education Unbanned!



  11:51:15 pm, by admin   , 2521 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Alemayehu G. Mariam

Ethiopia: Education Unbanned!

Ethiopia: Education Unbanned!

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

Distance Learning in Ethiopia Un-Banned?

Last week, it was quietly announced that the official wholesale ban on distance learning educational programs in Ethiopia has been lifted. In August 2010, the ban was imposed out of the blue "because of quality concerns". According to one report[1], following six-weeks of "negotiations" between education officials and distance learning service providers a settlement was reached in which providers reportedly agreed to create a curriculum that places more emphasis on science and technology and establish a trade association to oversee quality assurance. Education officials are expected to undertake stricter supervision and monitoring of distance learning institutions. The training of teachers and health care workers, and apparently legal education, will be reserved exclusively for public higher education institutions under the political control of the regime.

Doing the Right Thing

When I wrote my commentary "Ethiopia: Indoctri-Nation" this past September[2], I argued that the wholesale ban of private distance learning programs by "directive", or more accurately by bureaucratic fiat, was a flagrant violation of the governing law known as the "Higher Education Proclamation No. 650/2009" ['Proclamation'] and the constitutional property rights of the providers. I demonstrated that the responsible regulatory agency known as the "Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency" (HERQA) could only "revoke accreditation" of private distance learning institutions which fails to meet "minimum standards" on a case-by-case basis following a fact-finding and appeals process. It does not have the legal authority to impose a wholesale ban.

The reasons reported publicly for the "negotiated agreement" lifting the ban are not convincing in light of the provisions of the Proclamation. HERQA has broad regulatory authority to "ensure the minimum curricula quality standards". It does not need to "negotiate" its own legal authority to demand accountability and observance of standards from substandard providers; it could simply commence de-accreditation procedures against them. Instead of imposing a wholesale ban, the prudent and sensible thing for HERQA would have been to notify distance learning stakeholders of deficiencies, consulted with them on remedies and instituted stricter accountability and quality control measures with increased oversight and monitoring. Those who fail to cure deficiencies within a reasonable time could be set for a "de-accreditation" hearing. Inexplicably, HERQA officials and the political bosses in charge of education acted rashly and arbitrarily in August; now they have been forced to turn back the clock because the total ban has proven to be impractical and irrational to implement and has made the ruling regime in Ethiopia the laughing stock of higher education throughout the world.

As I have demonstrated in my commentary referenced above, the blanket ban on distance learning was wrong because it imposed collective punishment on all members of a group without an opportunity to be heard and a fair determination of the facts. The ban also unfairly smeared all distance program providers in the country as sub-standard, and maligned the leaders of these institutions as scammers in light of comments by officials which insinuated that the "purpose [of the providers] was to collect money" and not provide legitimate educational services. It is impossible to imagine that all distance learning providers in the country are so deficient in quality that they needed to be shut down at once. If that were true, it would be a sad commentary on those officials responsible for education in the country for allowing such institutions to function as they have for so many years. Imposing the ban in August was wrong; righting that wrong by lifting the ban now (assuming that it is actually lifted and is not merely a public relations gimmick) is a testament to education itself: "All humans make mistakes, but only the wise ones learn from them"

Lessons Learned

Educational bureaucrats and their political bosses in Ethiopia could learn a few lessons from the blanket ban fiasco. First, it is important for them to incorporate the principle of the rule of law in their official actions. Simply stated, they could act only to the extent that they have constitutional and statutory authority. They cannot act arbitrarily or abuse their power because they occupy a political position. The ban was manifestly the result of lack of knowledge or willful ignorance of the applicable law by officials in charge of educational policy-making and implementation. Had these officials familiarized themselves with their governing Proclamation, it would have been self-evident to them that they have to follow the prescribed de-accreditations procedures and could not impose a total ban. They need to institutionalize and practice the principle of the rule of law as part of their bureaucratic culture which will help them perform their duties with high degree of accountability, transparency and efficiency.

The second lesson to be learned is that to avoid the type of mindless and irrational policymaking, the political bosses in charge of education should establish a standardized notice-and-comment process before proposed regulations are implemented. By publicly announcing a proposed rule change in advance, impacted institutions, groups, communities and members of the general public would be given an opportunity to provide input and share their views on their special circumstances. They could also provide policymakers data and analysis to help in the formulation of policies that are balanced, efficacious and likely to be implemented successfully. Such a process avoids hasty consideration of issues, premature and uninformed judgments, embarrassing decisions and obviates the need for the futile pursuit of impractical policies as evidenced in this ban.

To be sure, if the education officials had followed a notice-and-comment process, not only would distance learning service providers, teachers, students and their parents and others have had the opportunity to contribute positively to the policy process, the officials themselves could have spared themselves public embarrassment, avoided wasting time negotiating something the needed no negotiation and quite possibly avoid legal challenges to the ban. A notice-and-comment process also promotes accountability, transparency and public engagement in the policy process consistent with the prescription in Article 12 of the Ethiopian Constitution (Functions and Accountability of Government) which provides: "The activities of government shall be undertaken in a manner which is open and transparent to the public." What better way to practically implement Article 12 than instituting an open notice-and-comment process?

A third lesson to be learned is that in higher education it is vital to maintain ongoing consultations with the stakeholders. Higher education is not the military high command where random and arbitrary orders are given to be followed unquestioningly. Having served in a leadership position in higher education strategic planning and implementation and overseen the development of a specialized distance learning program, I know it is counter-productive to even consider imposing bureaucratic control on curriculum, faculty, staff, students and administrators. Systematic and ongoing consultations with stakeholders are essential for a successful distance learning program design, planning, implementation, evaluation, maintenance and improvement. Quality concerns in distance learning are not limited to "ensuring minimum standards" as it seems to be the concern of educational officials in Ethiopia; there is the whole other area of student achievement and learning outcomes which can be tackled only by identifying student needs, problems and barriers students encounter in obtaining educational services. Without a comprehensive approach, the efforts to ensure minimum standards in the long run will amount to nothing more than window dressing.

The need for ongoing consultations with stakeholders needs emphasis. When HERQA suddenly announced the ban, distance learning providers, teachers and students at these institutions were shocked to find out that such a catastrophic policy had been made without even the courtesy of notice, let alone consultations with them as stakeholders. Molla Tsegaye, president of Admas University College, expressed shock and dismay when he learned about the ban: "We did not expect this. As stakeholders in the sector, we should have been consulted before all this." Consultation is a process in which the concerned parties confer to share views, exchange ideas and give advice. Negotiation is a process in which the parties have issues which they seek to settle in a formal agreement. Both the providers and the educational bureaucrats and their political bosses are presumably on the same side. They are both manifestly interested and committed to educational quality and student learning. Consultations, not negotiations, are more appropriate and efficacious to increase program quality and student achievement. If Ethiopia's distance education providers are collectively failing in providing quality instruction, they should be presented with the data of sub-par performance and engaged as stakeholders to develop guidelines for best practices.

The fourth lesson to be learned is the need to de-politicize education. Education bureaucrats and their political bosses should respect principles of academic freedom in higher education and let students, faculty members, scholars and researchers have the freedom to teach, learn or communicate ideas without being targeted for repression, job loss and other retribution. Higher educational institutions, and schools in general, should not be places of indoctrination for the ruling party's true believers. The legal, teaching and health professions should not be the exclusive domain of public institutions that are funded and completely controlled by the regime and its top leaders. Academic merit and freedom, and excellence in instructional quality should be the governing principles for higher education in Ethiopia, not party membership, party loyalty or party influence.

The fifth and most important lesson for the political bosses that orchestrated this fiasco is to publicly come out and say, "We made a mistake. We messed up. We acted rashly and without forethought when we imposed a wholesale ban! We will consult stakeholders in the future and solicit input from the public to ensure a transparent process; and we will act only to the extent that we have authority under the law." There is nothing more important for the public than to have officials taking ownership of their mistakes. No reasonable person would disagree with efforts aimed at weeding out diploma mills and fly-by-night operations. No one would protest efforts aimed at protecting the public from educational fraud. The solution to these problem is not to throw out the baby with the bath water by imposing a total ban on distance learning, but to remove the rotten apples from the barrel. With the un-banning of distance learning, stakeholders, bureaucrats and their political bosses could begin a new chapter and go beyond setting "minimum standards" to setting a "gold standard" of best practices in distance learning not only for Ethiopia but also the African continent.

Reflections of an Education "Neo-Liberal"

In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess my own predilections and preferences in higher education having spent much of my professional life in the university environment. I proudly advocate a laissez faire approach to higher education. That makes me an educational "neoliberal" (a word often used pejoratively by some benighted dogmatists, which I simply define as one who believes in a totally free marketplace of ideas undefiled by bureaucratic and regulatory vulgarity) who upholds the individual's right to choose his/her own educational program and professional career. Well, get a load of this: "Hell, Yeah! I am an Educational Neo-Liberal and Damn Proud it!" As a "neo-liberal", I believe in freedom of inquiry and thought. I am always willing to entertain new ideas with inquisitiveness and fascination, not fear and anxiety.

There are those destined to the dustbin of history who have argued that "the neo-liberal paradigm is a dead end, is incapable of bringing about the African renaissance, and that a fundamental shift in paradigm is required to bring about the African renaissance." I say the only paradigm shift self-serving, pretentious, narcissistic and megalomaniacal dictators could bring is to march the "Dark Continent" backwards to the Dark Ages. It was the Renaissance European universities that led the scientific revolution and became the incubators of new ideas in science, literature, philosophy, art, politics, science and religion. Closing institutions of higher learning and banning fields of scientific and philosophical inquiry were the hallmarks of the Dark Ages, not the Renaissance.

My belief is that government regulation of education rarely results in quality improvement or student achievement. The maze of bureaucratic rules and regulations imposed by governments often stifle creativity, learning and the expansion of knowledge. Africa's "renaissance" or rebirth is in the hands of its young people yearning to breathe free and struggling to exert their creative impulses to lift the continent out of poverty and dictatorship. There can be no renaissance when an official orthodoxy is forced upon citizens and the state mindlessly meddles in the marketplace of ideas and knowledge with a heavy hand. Suffice it to say that I believe in a free marketplace of ideas (universities) where students, teachers, researchers and scholars do not have to seek knowledge under the long shadow of official censors or look over their shoulders for the thought police lurking behind every bush on campus. As to the cultural role played by private higher educational institutions, could anyone doubt the enormous contributions of private universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and dozens more in America's "renaissance"?

In the marketplace of ideas and knowledge, I say keep government out. Let individuals decide what they want and need. If students feel a private distance education program meets their needs, it should be their choice and not the decision of faceless, nameless and capricious bureaucrats. It is all about freedom of choice. In a free society, every citizen can choose his/her educational destiny. If one chooses to become an educator, a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, a chemist or train to join any other profession, it is their right to pursue it particularly when they are paying for it out of their own pockets. Only totalitarian states mandate what each citizen will learn and become.

The whole idea of state monopoly in teacher education, health and the law is deeply offensive to anyone who believes in freedom of learning and education. In my September commentary referenced above, I noted: "State-certified teachers who are ruling party members could be used to play a decisive role in legitimizing the regime and in indoctrinating the youth in the regime's ideology." Human Rights Watch two weeks ago supported my observation with evidence that the ruling regime in Ethiopia had misused state educational facilities for political purposes and engaged in systematic political indoctrination of students and repression of teachers. [3]

As a lawyer and educator, I am particularly concerned about state monopoly over legal education. By monopolizing the law discipline, the ruling regime manifestly intends to regulate the admission of law students and the training of lawyers and judges who will administer "justice" in the country. Such a monopoly will produce not lawyers and legal professionals who are committed to the Constitution, the rule of law, principles of universal justice and ethical standards, but robotic legal cadres committed to the ruling regime and its policies. In other words, justice will be administered by party hacks, hirelings, flunkies and lackeys with ultimate loyalty to the dictator-in-chief. I am a proud "neoliberal" in education because I believe "education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army"; better yet, the best defense against an army of ignoramuses.



Comment from: YNEG [Visitor]

Thanks, Professor, for your magnificent article.
I wonder what the tplf cyber-cadres are going to say this time.
All of you couch-potatoes, come out and puke your hate for this amazing, tireless Ethiopian.
KAFERKU AYMELISEGN, hono new enji aleqochachihu enkwan tesasitenal, yiqir belun bilew, they have revoked their stupid ban against distant education.
But, I don’t think that the likes of justin and assstaa guttaa will ever learn from their mistakes (as long as, of course, their bellies and pockets are full)

11/01/10 @ 00:24
Comment from: [Member]

This guy Almaria has become a SENILE. He has totally lost it.
Now he is telling us the temporary shut down on distance education is lifted because of his article.
And he trys to make us forget why our govt temporarily shut down the distance education by sugesting it was a ban.
The govt stopped the distance education untill they come up with a transperent regulation. And now they found a middle ground between the authorities and the owners of these institutions.
How in the world he expects these institutions to be perfect, when he trys to compare the system in the US, with Ethiopia, by bringing how they function in some of the ivy league universitys, such as Harvard, yale, princeton, stanford, etc…
In a poor country like ours, we know there could be people who take advantage of any unchecked loop-holes.
Our govt has the responsiblity to check every loop-hole in order to have a quality education.

11/01/10 @ 00:41
Comment from: Ethiopiawi [Visitor]

Is Mr Al Maria different than the previous diaspora politicians? The answer is NO. This week in Washington D.C thousands marched to tell the fear-mongering, paranoid right wingers, who are hell bent on making America seem hell. This is the job of Al-Mariam and the Shabia and Derg foot soldiers about Ethiopia. It doesn’t matter what happens in Ethiopia for them everything is hell.

11/01/10 @ 01:17
Comment from: truth [Visitor]

Alemayehu G. Mariam …you went to good school you are well educated,well rounded,smart intelligent but the thing i don’t get is YOU STILL BLIND BY HATE ??? you know they say –>>>>>>>> HATE DON’T DISCRIMINATE

STOP the hate and i will listen to you

11/01/10 @ 02:18
Comment from: Dan [Visitor]

You are one of the most idiots and you still want to show how idiot you are. I know people go to school to learn some thing but you are a professor who don’t learn anything. Please stop writing idiot things and behave like a normal person.

11/01/10 @ 02:59
Comment from: Bekele [Visitor]

I have viewed many articles written by the professor in this web site. I was with some confusions about his argument till he post about the ban of distance education and its lift. By now, I assured that he is not only an ignorant but also he is a crazy who he is lost his mind.
This I said him because of two reasons:
- He simply rush on issues related the reforms undergoing in the Ethiopian education with out any deep information-lessthan the public knowledge,
- the few quated sentences are simply he quate them for distructing the realities.
I am an educator by profession and have strong relationship with matters of education than a man in abroad and blined with hatrage than ever I saw.
I hop he is an AMERICAN BY CITIZEN. He is not by no means an Ethiopian. He worrried much about the country who he hated in vacume.
Now a days there are many educational reforms undergoing in ethiopia to maintain the quality such as reform in curriculum, teacher education, educational managment, quality assurance etc., and this is one of the reforms which are held as an agenda in the country.
No absolute free education evry where, even in America - the country of this evil minded individual. the quality of Education in this or that way is checked by the government in power. some countries check the quality of education by the ministry and others by external bodies like the organ mentioned by him. SO, what is new for him, except to show his hatrage.

11/01/10 @ 03:17
Comment from: Wollo [Visitor]

For the first time I found a bit senseful article from Almariam. But He still mix up that are irrelevant with the issue of distance education. Neo iberalism in Africa and Human rights Watch. But more than that I agree with comments by Truth, he still reflects hate.

11/01/10 @ 03:51
Comment from: setariat [Visitor]  

Thank you for changing the heart of authorities on distant education with your powerful article. I believe you can contribute to education in Ethiopia more than an article of criticism.
As you well aware, the art of negotiation takes more than sporadic articles. I am afraid your voice of reason might get lost through the chaotic noise of diaspora unless you follow the rules of constructive engagement. Thinking to change the policies of a stable nation of 80 million people through cyber products is an immature and can be compared to the grandiose delusional thoughts of some of our patients.

11/01/10 @ 04:30
Comment from: Melt [Visitor]


I think you got hate and critique confused. The professor’s writing has been nothing but critiquing what is being done.

11/01/10 @ 06:14
Comment from: haimanot [Visitor]

Here comes the moron, diehard so called professor. Are you telling us that your former article forced Meles the lift the ban? You must be super jilajil if you think like this.

11/01/10 @ 07:50
Comment from: vistor [Visitor]

If the proffassor truly love Ethiopian and children why dont the proffessor come and teach for one year

11/01/10 @ 08:20
Comment from: I_hate_Ehadig [Visitor]

I like Alemayehu! He is pissing of all the kadres by writing the truth.

All Kadres – Education is not children’s game like woyane is playing. Eka eka chewata aregachehut eko ,,, you say one thing today and destroy it tomorrow. You are deaf and illiterate. You don’t hear what the literate people tells you.

When does weyane and its kadres learn a lesson from mistakes??? Don’t repeat same mistake now and then like a moron. Actually you are, sorry to tell you the truth!!

Well done professor!!!

11/01/10 @ 08:25
Comment from: Clapton [Visitor]

Addis Zemen
Why the government would disrupt education if the solutions can be resolved in short time? You said. The govt stopped the distance education until they come up with a transparent regulation. This is like cart before the horse situations. You also said. How in the world he expects these institutions to be perfect, when he trys to compare the system in the US, with Ethiopia, by bringing how they function in some of the university
Our Al is simply trying to remind your government that the rule of law has not been implemented. The legal side of it a law known as the “"Higher Education Proclamation No. 650/2009 [’Proclamation’] and the constitutional property rights of the providers.
The list you are expected to do is to follow the system in Ethiopia. That would be perfect enough. Your government make tonnes of mistakes so why do you get angry when ever our Al trying to correct your government mistakes your government learn a lot from our Al. We have seen this evidently in this month Ethiopian politics,and more to follow.

11/01/10 @ 08:30
Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

Initially the intention of the Government was not at all to close all of them, but to bring a regulation to an ever growing sector. This guy missed the point in his first article and now he is trying to justify what he said before, as usual saying I know what is the better for everybody, and I am the best is the main point he is trying to talk about.

If there is anything I learned from this man is how hate can distort ones perception and eat the human capacity of reasoning in an acceptable manner. Or else this WESELATA BANDA is smoking something?

11/01/10 @ 08:31
Comment from: Seleme [Visitor]

addis zemen,

i felt sad to the people like you. . .wether you like it or not, your leba master learned what critics says. . .not like before, but more to go my friend. . .more to go.

. . .Yeha says, “TRANSFORMATION". . . .iikkkkkkkkk! for 20 years of transformation. . .

nothing to do? hear the critics says!

11/01/10 @ 08:44
Comment from: ankober [Visitor]

al mariam

the tea party cheer leader of ethiopian politics.just like limbough and other bozos,he sees nothing good on others except hate and prejiduce.

the only thing al knows about the heroic epdrf is he hates it.

al please lighten up .the fame you are dying for has not come yet.keep trying and entertain us with your comical and long articles

11/01/10 @ 09:07
Comment from: abyssiniangirl4life [Visitor]

Addis Zemen,

You are either mentally challenged or severely lacking in the English language! All I did was browse through the article and YET I was able to understand the reason the government lifted the ban was because they realized they were on the wrong side of the constitution(which tells you a lot about the kind of people that are in charge…shoot first, ask questions later types like yourself). All this information is found under “lesson Learned” first paragraph. If you are not retarded, maybe you can find someone to translate for you?

11/01/10 @ 09:21
Comment from: Hagos [Visitor]

Alemayehu, you are after our ass. We don’t know you pays you write these hateful articles. Don’t you have anything else to do, job, personal life, anything? You articles are too much, your hatred towards our beloved federal system is blatant, but you know what, old guards and their backward believe of one language, one culture and one people is long gone and will never (I repeat) NEVER EVER come back!

EPRDF for live!!!!!!!!!!!!

11/01/10 @ 09:36
Comment from: thomas [Visitor]

AL you are so crazy I am so sick of you crying for everything. Shut the F—-up .

11/01/10 @ 09:46
Comment from: Kena Keb [Visitor]
Kena Keb

When Alemayehu’s highly anticipated “winning cards", i.e Miss Birtukan Mideksa’s case(which ended in a very embarrassing way when she openly admitted that she had lied to the Ethiopian people) and the governmental decision on distance learning service providers( which ended in an agreement between the education officials and these institutions to reform and create a new curriculum) ended in a monumental fiasco in our very eyes. But Alemayehu, clinging to his politically motivated agenda, continues to deny the every day realities in Ethiopia. To many of Ethiopians who have lived to witness how many higher educational institutions and Universities had existed before this government took power, Alemayehu’s motives should not come as a surprise to us when 20 and more Universities spread all over the country are visible facts. When his reckoned “winning cards” never made it, he has no choice but to blatantly deny the truth.

Ethiopia shall prosper!!

11/01/10 @ 10:28
Comment from: Aariam [Visitor]

good dear prof .I am always the one of your many admiral Ethiopians and I as useuly waited such articles and we learned much of you.

To the Tista di galina aigeforum dogs. you will burn a live in this time and the cost for you will be high you dud…

11/01/10 @ 10:56
Comment from: Mesfin from Maryland [Visitor]
Mesfin from Maryland

Dear Truth,

Can you please enlighten us where the Professor has become hateful and perhaps has dealt with hate as per your accusations in this article. He just exquisitely laid out his arguements, articulated his perspectives and opinions from a vast pool of his education and experiences. You may agree with him or not as every one else do.If you do not happen to agree with his arguements, let’s hear your side of the arguement. Because someone has critically lambasted your line of arguement or the policy that you blindly follow doesn’t make one to be hateful. Please don’t type some nonsense on the web-page just because you have the liberty to do so.If you really do not have something to contribute for the common good, please try to learn something from those who have some experience without spoiling and polluting the forum or educational environment. In all honesty, with some of us, the world is really better off without us living in it for we are only a waste of flesh, bone and blood and will only pollute the world with our carcass after we left the world for the good of it. You should only post something whenever you feel only the urge that you can contribute something for the betterement of all. Otherwise, you would be better of doing nothing or stay bent for your bosses to ride on you or do whatever they want to do or try to learn things that you don’t have enough knowledge about than pontificating on something that you don’t have any idea, because by typing some non-sense, you are embarassing even your bosses that are filling up your belly. Pathetic!

11/01/10 @ 11:23
Comment from: dispora [Visitor]

can’t you make short article , it is scary to read

11/01/10 @ 11:40
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]

Adgi Banda ,why don’t you and your thuggy bros shut your poisonous mouth if you
have “NOTHING” to say .Of course as said prof Al your leba master and his
agazis are continously ridiculising themselveses by declaring unapicable and baseless laws .The word “Rule of Law” means for you and the TPLF bandits ,whorshiping the Leba Zenawi plus insuring and protecting the Tigre
Mafiosis and the aderby bandas Interests .

11/01/10 @ 11:42
Comment from: Invisible [Visitor]

Alemayehu G. Mariam, so you knew and acknowledge now on your fruitless ever article that there was deficiency with quality of Education before it was banned?

No one will follow your misleading article as it has never helped any person to be convinced.

11/01/10 @ 11:49
Comment from: sami1 [Visitor]

Keep on writing it may take long time but people will take some of your writing to heart and they could rise to help correct injustice!

11/01/10 @ 12:57
Comment from: yoni [Visitor]

Why would AlMaria disputes the banning of IMPORTED LAW EDUCATION?

Can he explain why?

In addition, how legit is it for someone to be absent for 30 years from Ethiopia and writes about Ethiopia every week?

This dude writes about the administration of the Ethiopia gov’t day and night with absolutely no observation of his own camp.

11/01/10 @ 14:16
Comment from: Yemeche Arada [Visitor]
Yemeche Arada

last time @awaash restaurant you and the rest of your old ass soviet era political crooks were so drunk and harassing young women that could be your grand daughters.You all need Jesus in your empty lives.
Don’t make me get that place raided by the FBI,now.We all know about all the illegal activities.The coke and other stuff.

11/01/10 @ 14:35
Comment from: bini [Visitor]

and your point is? get a hobby, i know your daughter left home to college, it is time to knock some girl up or just get a dog or a cat. or apply your extensive knowledge and experience in legal field to some thing good for Ethiopia. stop ranting, no one cares about you say, except the “mehayim” Diasporas that idealize you because you have a JD( that is a Juris doctorate in law) for the blind supporters.

11/01/10 @ 15:01
Comment from: [Member]

Get lost, you don’t deserve the attention of these readers. You are over sixty years of age, you should argue your politics who people of your age. I am just curious what you have done for your country other than talk hate politcs. You need to come up with bright idea to better your mother country of Ethiopia. Something tangable like computer software that can change people’s life for the better. Anyone can talk hate politics with specific agenda tie to it, but hardly anyone comes up with inovation that change people’s life for ever. I suggest you do that rather than criticizing what other people trying to do. If you are a man of respect, then come up with something uniq that will have greater influece in the life of others. We have heard of your critic article over and over, we tired of reading.

11/01/10 @ 15:13
Comment from: Aberaham [Visitor]

Almariam, what ticks you is a fear that the sons and daughters of Ethiopian peasants have now started to go to school! Under the feudal-oligarchic that you and your leftover cohorts eulogize, they never had a chance to do what they have started doing – Going to School. It is the last strive by you and your reactionary scraps from the past to try to change the course of history. Reactionaries of your sort have a hard time to grasp what is going in Ethiopia. The same people who were denigrated and dehumanized by your “the real Ethiopians” fathers and mothers are now at the helm! I suggest that you look at the recent list of Ethiopian ministers and directors. Ethiopians of all background are now making the real changes for themselves despite your wishful dreams of trying to reverse the power of the people. As for education in Ethiopia, read the Millennium Development Goals – Primary education increased by 500% in a few years! It is these sorts of changes that keep you and your likes restless and insane.

11/01/10 @ 16:09
Comment from: teshome [Visitor]

Success is achieved through an iterative process of learning from mistakes.

11/01/10 @ 16:10
Comment from: The Original Ethiopian Guy ! [Visitor]
The Original Ethiopian Guy !

you are such a stupied man of the year. you do now nothink rather than critisaze on tplf/eprdf polices, you must stop barking or go to the battle ground in ethiopian.poletics, doen’t work thourght cyper. be a real heroe like tplf doe around the globe.

11/01/10 @ 16:38
Comment from: Sam [Visitor]

Al Mariam asserts if the State monopolizes education, it will result in having “robotic legal cadres.” Not always likely though. Aside from Al Mariam’s belief that the market has an answer for everything, the article is well-thought-out and insightful. In general, I am on the same page with the writer of the issues he raised on this article. But his disdain of government “interference” in education might not be supported with facts. He writes “government regulation of education rarely results in quality improvement or student achievement.” I beg to differ. I am the product of government regulated school system. I did OK thank you very much, so do many of my school mates. Everything that the government touches will wither away should be and will remain to be the know-it-all far right Republicans slogan. Just a slogan. Nothing less, nothing more. Whether once likes it or not, governments have played significant roles in people’s lives, and continue to do so.

11/01/10 @ 16:47
Comment from: moses [Visitor]

I am disturbed with your comment” If students feel a private distance education program meets their needs; it should be their choice and not the decision of faceless, nameless and capricious bureaucrats. It is all about freedom of choice. In a free society, every citizen can choose his/her educational destiny. If one chooses to become an educator, a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, a chemist or train to join any other profession, it is their right to pursue it particularly when they are paying for it out of their own pockets. Only totalitarian states mandate what each citizen will learn and become.” That is true Al, It is all about freedom of choice. But, Ethiopian is a growing country that needs more educated students in Science and Technology. What happen when the country does not produce that? For how long does Ethiopia to depend on foreigners on Science and Technology field? Can the country afford to send abroad ignoring ways to improve home grown Scientists and Researchers? Do we have to wait for knowledge hand out too? For how long do we need somebody to come and do the work just because we don’t have enough educated and trained man powers in Science and Technology? Do you oppose to engage ourselves to learn and teach focusing on Science and Technology? Most of my Science teachers in the high school that I went in the 70th were foreigners. I am sure that was the case for most high school in Ethiopia.
Al, I work in the public institution like you in the state that I am in. Most of the students in my undergrad and grade school in the 80th , in Science fields, were foreigners. Today the intuitions have less foreign students then the 80th due to home grown Science and Technology educators in their perspective countries. Because of that, we are experiencing less foreign students coming from abroad for their Masters and PhD’s. That is the way to bring improvement and break the cycle of dependence. Over the past few years, the so called private institutions mushroomed in Ethiopia. Most of them focusing only to make money and ignoring the quality have contributed their share. Do you think it is fair to the farmers who are paying for their children’s educations deserve poor quality education? You are not the only Western educated and who think and beat the dram. Many of us may not open our mouth like you in appropriately for every little thing that is happening in Ethiopian. That does not mean we are pro EPRDF or ignore failure. However, We engage ourselves to make a value able contributions even in a distance encouraging when we see positive direction for improvement and bring to their attention when the direction for improvement is not feasible which may lead to failure. The government of Ethiopia realized that mass production with poor quality of education is unacceptable and problematic for future growth of the country. Which I think the steps should have been taken 10 years ago. Sorting out the good and bad institution is not too late to correct whatever mistakes have been done. Being an opponent to criticize and oppose on a policy that does not bring strategic improvements and growth is one thing. But genuinely denying commendable improvement is nothing but a filthy hate. What you have is a filthy hate. I am wondering how come an educated man like you thinks, unable to analyze things regardless of your political stand and take everything negative. Where is your rational thinking? I am waiting to read something where you accept and appreciate any kind of development in Ethiopia before you pen dries. I don’t think you can do that. Because that will be a suicidal for you irrational thinking possessed your brain like ADO KABIRIE.

11/01/10 @ 16:48
Comment from: [Member]

Abys girl 4 life,..

Like a master like a deciple. What is new. You people are born to lie. We don’t expect anything else from pathological liers like you. Your master almaria said education was banned in Ethiopia by the govt. Well the whole world can see we have never banned education in Ethiopia. The main evidence, instead we are building schools and universities everyday. Meanwhile giving a chance and opportunity to any one who can open a private institutions such as a distance education sector. The problem started there, where people started making business instead of bringing quality education for our people. The Ethiopian govt, EPRDF as usual is accountable govt, and spotted the problem before it gets out of hand. And had to shut down the distance education sector untill they come up with tangible solution and transparency.
You and the rest of hatefull diaspora wannabees always like to twist things around, to make them suitable for your daily lamentation. What ever you say you can not change the reality in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is beyond your reach, and Ethiopians are busy in their daily activity on the developmental progress, incase if you think they care about your daily dose of tears and dooms day preaching. You will only die crying.

11/01/10 @ 17:57
Comment from: kachamali [Visitor]

Ato almaria hates our government so he has to look for things to down play with:ethiopian government can ban any private system of service to ethiopia when it is probable more danger than its benefit to our ethiopian socity;and may also lift it when they accept the guide we do not have to run after every little beurocratic issues that our government does:because we trust it,this is the government that lifted up our country from such a poverty lever to the point where we have all the basic infrastructures extended all over the Almaria is a big looser that looking some thing be famous for but such are paased now, it may look to him tthat he is getting good attention from the hate diaspora groups but it has been experienced before that it does’nt long last. They are going to get tired of him,choose another some what less looser.he is an old big-sick dog barking alone on the empty yard.

11/01/10 @ 20:02
Comment from: Bekele [Visitor]

things are in constant change in ethiopia. Particularly, changes in ethiopia education system are more radical and frequent. These radical and frequent changes in education willl have their own posetive and negative implications. If they are for better results thay should have to be taken. This is what is going on ethiopia.
Every steps were taken to wards the achieviment of access on the expenses of quality. Because it is difficult for a poor country to do them simaltaneously. now the second phase begins to operate-maintaining the quality. Here to maintain the quality of Education different steps have to be taken. Some measures may be dissatisfied some people or organizations. however, the measures have to be take since they are for good and betterment.
Change by itslf is not a mistake or an error rather it should have to be seen as a refinment. That is what I feel. what the person is doing i the other round. oposing unfair article is not a yard stick to label people as a cadre or as a member of EPRDF rather it is the opposit. On my life experience during the dergs and EPRPs people were killed by both because not only they hold different politics but also because they were abstainer and this is what I observed from some comments.
The prof. is marching in a wrong way with his specific political agenda. We should have to say him no when he is destorting the reality. That is many people are doing. Let him come and do some thing tangible work for the poor people instead of critising efforts done by others being living abroad.

11/01/10 @ 20:39
Comment from: Tolla [Visitor]

Addis “yewoyane” Zemen’
Turinafa, Master Tultula,

I am so sorry to see that someone commented first than you!!! Please don’t sleep long enough to be a second commentor!!! You will definitely lose your pay from the loot if you continue to forget your assignment: commenting first and pumping up your looter emperor, Meles!!!
Remember that we were supposed to export electricity long time ago? This week the EEPCO (ELPA) manager admitted that production is only 1300 Mv, not even the 2000 they were claiming long ago!!! The propaganda you guys emanate to have 8000 or 10000 Mv was the same election time Turinafa!!! Go to Capital, Addis Fortune, Walta or others and verify this fact.
I will not forget a 6 billion Merkato dev’t by Malaysians over 10 years ago, a bridge over the Red Sea by Arabs to connect Arab lands to East Africa about 5 years ago just to feed us empty propaganda!!! Ethiopia was receiving billions of dollars from donors every year during woyanne rule and this alone could have significantly grown our GDP if it was wisely used to work for the benefit of Ethiopians. However, the side looting and open air pocketing killed the country and left the future generation with significant indebtedness. This is what you are defending day in and day out, ONLY BECAUSE YOU HAVE YOUR OWN SHARE OF THE LOOT!!!

11/01/10 @ 20:45
Comment from: Samuel [Visitor]

It is amazing to read comments by people calling the professor “ignorant", “hater", etc. Such people have NOTHING useful to contribute to the discussion. If these people are part of the propaganda apparatus of the ruling regime then the regime should be embarrassed to be represented by them.

While I agree with the majority of his commentary, I personally disagree with some of the professor points. For example, there are so many business studies graduates in the country than the market can absorb, and there are much fewer graduates of the health sciences. I don’t see a problem in government having a policy of encouraging public institutions to teach sciences based on critical demand situations; but I also have a problem with government telling private institutions what they should teach. It is like forcing a farm produce merchant to sell only oranges and apricots. These are business-driven institutions so they should tech whatever is needed by the consumer, not by the government.

My final comment is to the professor: The Nazreth forum is not suitable for people who have inquisitive and free minds. I encourage you to form a discussion forum where Ethiopians can share ideas and learn from each other.

11/01/10 @ 21:18
Comment from: Shewarega [Visitor]

The thing that cracks me up about this guy is how he touches the DEEPEST nerve of Malelit cadres. The overwhelming pain and suffering they show everytime he lifts up his pen is remarkable. The hopelessness, empty words, out wright cries and wailing that accompanies his articles is fast becoming the biggest entertainment here at Nazret. At least, he is giving them a little bit of the suffering and pain they have been inflicting on Ethiopians for decades. For that, I salute him.

11/01/10 @ 22:00
Comment from: messay [Visitor]

This dude has lots of time in his hand.

11/01/10 @ 22:42
Comment from: ewnetu tazebe [Visitor]
ewnetu tazebe

Alemayehu G.Mariam, as I said last time if you have close reletives this is the time they to pay attention to whart you are doing, talking, writing because you are really need help. you are in serious condition.somebody can not have such a hateful, destructive iadea without having serious illness. I read most of the time your article, but I have never seen a positive and constructive idea, which means you have a big problem. you can critisize the governement that is you democratic right,but your critisizim is far beyond the truth.
our country Ethiopia now needs someone can help and bring change in peoples life. finally I am telling you you better ask yourself why you your are so hatefull….try to change your self for better.

11/01/10 @ 23:00
Comment from: samrawit [Visitor]

Why you Americans disturbing us.Please we Ethiopians knows what is good for us.

11/01/10 @ 23:36
Comment from: ISUZU-FSR [Visitor]

you stupid and lost ethiopian born-Amrican old man please do not come to my country Ethiopia,you can bark here on the web until you die of a heart-attack on that chair you write on,but once again do not try to visit Ethiopia!
mr.almaria you are the derg we fought and overthrawn 20 years back
and our todays Ethiopia do not want to hear from any Derg remains of any kind any where,you wish us to be the same way back during the derg regime,and you do not appricial a single item from all these globally visible economic and infrustructural development:some times when i read your itemized fabrications,i wonder wether you are some what angry-man lost some thing,but really really worried too because can’t do anything,giving your being unconsiderate of any positive activities that are carried out in our country.

11/02/10 @ 00:33
Comment from: john john [Visitor]
john john

PROF.ALL i admire you for royal service to your true master BANDA do what he supposed to to do serve his evil master. keep up your royal duty Ethiopia will be free from enemy for good.

11/02/10 @ 01:04
Comment from: hurso-dengego [Visitor]

to mr.Samuel

mr. Samuel, when you said the point below what do you really mean as an Ethiopian?

” but I also have a problem with government telling private institutions what they should teach”

shoud’t the government design an education cariculum suitable for the countries economic conditions?

or you just want some one like al-maria has to go teach our children about calture-less Americans for us!

people like you get on my nerve!!
you are probably worest than al-maria:drawned by western-system,all these free,free bla bla s-gamoras
full of devil!!!

11/02/10 @ 02:10
Comment from: [Member]


Take it easy man, you sound some of those #1 enemys of Ethiopia, like shewarega and co, who only want to see negative things back home. I don’t get it why you are mentioning those unfinished projects or unsuccesfull “if there are as you claimed", to be your point of arguement? Are you a shabia or OLF? Or a die hard enemy of Ethiopia like Almaria and Elias Kifle, who are wishing a PANDORA’S BOX to open on Ethiopia?

11/02/10 @ 04:02
Comment from: Dawit [Visitor]

@Moses, you have said it all…couldn’t agree more…hope Prof take the advice seriously

@samuel you have seen people calling him like that because he uses the same approach to ridicule everything..if you read all articles you will find points where he ridicules very famous noble laureates…for me it is not surprising..although I don’t support the trend…BUT…haven’t you seen even in this article referring to Ethiopian leaders as it acceptable?I don’t think so.

Bottom line is if he doesn’t respect any human being despite what…then it is not surprising if he isn’t respected

11/02/10 @ 09:37
Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

Samuel [Visitor]

It means you know very little about Al Mariam or you are just commenting without reading his articles. Does it mean you don’t know Al Mariam already have a website and is an editor of Ethiopian Review with Elias Kifle, then why don’t you go there and discuss “intellectually” on their garbage topics?

This man can’t stand a discussion, he is full of contradictions, the only way he can survive is post his garbage article and disappear only to come back with another garbage. He can’t account for one of his article because all he talks about is lies one after another.


Al Mariam is not just stupid, but more than that.

I am a student and I wonder how Al Mariam got his PhD, some people here are deceived by his English yet language is not knowledge. Language is an instrument to transfer knowledge where Al Mariam is failing time and again.

Why is that you think Al Mariam can’t be called “ignorant” because he have a professor title? He will be judged by the article he wrote as ignorant, when he shows ignorance. What the f*** is a professor?

11/02/10 @ 10:36
Comment from: AbaySinku [Visitor]

Al Mariam, I no more read fully your waste-of-time crap. It just makes me puke. Just see how overwhelming is the negative response on your article. This should make you decide get the hell out of the cyberspace or, may be, from earth. Almost 80% deslike you and think you are a Con man. Many think that you are nothing but an Achberbari Leba. Almost all think that you are a lazy crack addict MOFU, Most think that you might be lumpen. By the Way, do you not work? How come you write so long crap every single week?

This particular article of yours is a clear indication of what ever the Ethiopian Gov does is wrong for you. You are just like Limbough, Hannity, Becks: The fear monger Bastards who know very little and think they know everything. All you guys have is a very big and stinky mouth. All you guys have is hearts full of fear and hatred. This is what you and the far right republicans are. Yenat Hod Jingurgur! Yiluhal Indih new. A country who gave people like Meles, gave also the Almariams.

Desafortunadamente, mierda a la madre tuya!

11/02/10 @ 13:43
Comment from: Samuel [Visitor]

All I am saying is that debate on the points not on the person. If you disagree with what he wrote explain why you disagree with the POINTS or better yet counter it with your own ideas. The moment you drop the subject of discussion and jump on insulting and low-blowing the individual, you are demonstrating that you either don’t understand the subject or you just hate the person so much so that you don’t care what he is putting forward here. This is what hate is.
I fully understand that the writer has his own political views and inclinations and many of us have our own partisan views, but it never hurts to show respect in disagreement. Otherwise it will be like a shouting match. It is a coward’s way to insult people on the internet. Here is definition of ignorant: “uneducated in general; lacking knowledge or sophistication; unaware because of a lack of relevant information or knowledge”

11/02/10 @ 15:42
Comment from: coolman [Visitor]

I think the Professor is right this time around. The officials should set accreditation requirements and grant or deny license depending on its fulfillment, period.

Admittedly, I do not know all the details that led to the blanket ban, but it is a hard sell to say that all distance educators suck. Besides, the market will force the schools to improve their quality. If they produce only ill educated graduates, no one will hire those, which will eventually lead to loss of reputation and future students avoiding the schools. If a school prefers to teach this or that, it should be for the school to decide. After all, these schools are privately owned and have to follow the demand and supply principles to make a profit.

What the Professor says here makes sense and I do agree with it strongly.

“I believe in freedom of inquiry and thought. I am always willing to entertain new ideas with inquisitiveness and fascination, not fear and anxiety”

“In the marketplace of ideas and knowledge, I say keep government out. Let individuals decide what they want and need. If students feel a private distance education program meets their needs, it should be their choice and not the decision of faceless, nameless and capricious bureaucrats.”

“If one chooses to become an educator, a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, a chemist or train to join any other profession, it is their right to pursue it particularly when they are paying for it out of their own pockets.”

Amen to that


11/02/10 @ 18:27
Comment from: Almariam_just_ask_weyane_tohelp_you" eskemeche bedebdabe" [Visitor]
Almariam_just_ask_weyane_tohelp_you" eskemeche bedebdabe"

just get on your knee and ask Meles he will understand may be help you ” eskemech bedebdabe yaleksalu yeno profesor”

11/03/10 @ 16:53



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