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Monday, 3 December 2007

Quality education in Ethiopia is a victim of politics.

Tedla Asfaw
I followed Melese Zenawi's discussion in Addis Ababa University with the higher institute community posted on and it was interesting.
Melese Zenawi pointed out that quality education depends on the economy of the country and he said, "since we have limited government financial resources for  higher educations, students and educators have to understand this and try  their best to achieve quality education in the difficult circumstance they are now ".
The fact is that the quality of education is going down the hill because of political decision made by the Melese's administration for putting its priority to establish universities through out the country and boasting about it and care less whether these institutions are equipped to produce quality human power.
If the prime minister's  assertion that higher universities is mostly financed by the government is true how comes we are focusing on the quantity at the expense of quality and ask more sacrifice from the students and teachers ?
The prime minister believes that quality education is based on quality teachers and he said that we have to produce quality teachers which he said are the one who produce other quality professionals.
There was very interesting question by a woman who challenges the prime minister and got wide applause. She said that the education faculty in Addis Ababa is recruiting low achievers to be trained as teachers and  how could we expect such teachers to produce high quality engineers, doctors etc?
She also said that the discipline of students in the campus and lack of disciplining those violating the code of conduct is no longer there and that has threatended the security of the teachers and it is impossible to produce quality students in this atmosphere.
The prime minister did not answer why the education faculty is recruiting low achievers but he said the government tried to reward teachers even if symbolically by giving them more money than other graduates of the same degree to recognize teachers and educate the population about the service they give to our country.
This discussion was organized to make us and others believe that universities in Ethiopia are free learning centers. However, from picking the universities president and recruiting teachers it has been all political. All the universities are now run by pro TPLF administrations and the lack of recruiting good teachers has not been possible after TPLF dismissed more than forty professors for their political believes more than fifteen years ago.
Now after all these years  Melese Zenawi is talking about quality of education after it has been politicized from day one of his regime. I can give you one example.I know an Ethiopian soil scientist who got PHD in Belgium in 1988 who was teaching in Alemaya for few years and was appointed as the President of Mekele University rather than teach soil in Alemaya or wherever he likes, and I would like to hear form the prime minister if such political appointment helps the quality of education?
Our universities should function freely without government intervention by professionals and remove all the cadres from education establishments which are threatening the safety of our students and teachers and then we will talk about quality education.