the ethiopian experience a higher education system in context l.
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The Ethiopian experience: a higher education system in context Prof Kate Ashcroft What I will cover The context What sort of place is Ethiopia? What education (especially HE) is offered? The 13 new Higher Education Institution Study:

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what i will cover
What I will cover
  • The context
    • What sort of place is Ethiopia?
    • What education (especially HE) is offered?
  • The 13 new Higher Education Institution Study:
    • Curriculum and pedagogic issues – what does the country need?
    • Organizational and qualifications structures – what is realistic and desirable?
    • Resourcing issues – what can the country afford?
what sort of place is ethiopia
What sort of place is Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia is a happy country
  • Ethiopians are a strikingly beautiful people
  • People are friendly and unthreatening and someone is always willing to go out of their way to help you
  • People are generally honest and violent crime is rare
the ethiopians are a cultured people
The Ethiopians are a cultured people
  • The Ethiopian monarchy was 3000 years old
  • The Royal family is believed to be descended from the Queen of Sheba and Solomon
  • Ethiopia was never colonized
  • It still uses the Gregorian Calendar, so is about to celebrate the millennium
  • Ethiopia has its own way of telling the time
  • The calendar has 13 months
ethiopian christianity is a unique religion
Ethiopian Christianity is a unique religion
  • The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest in the world: it was established in 300 AD
  • It has books in its bible such as the Book of Enoch
  • It is a schism of a schism of a schism
  • Its practices have evolved from ancient Judaism
  • Ethiopia’s Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world. Most emigrated en mass to Israel in the 1970s
  • Ethiopia’s religions live in harmony with each other
every day living is enjoyable for most people
Every day living is enjoyable for most people
  • The food is good and varied in most places
  • There are little shops and businesses everywhere
  • There are comfortable, middle class homes


  • There are many homeless and beggars too – poverty is real
ethiopia has varied wildlife and a wonderful climate
Ethiopia has varied wildlife and a wonderful climate
  • A beautiful country, endlessly interesting
  • More species of bird than any African country except South Africa
  • A wide variety of wildlife in remote areas
ethiopia s countryside is stunningly beautiful
Ethiopia’s countryside is stunningly beautiful
  • Varied: mountains mostly, but green plains, deserts and the Rift Valley
  • The climate is pleasant in most of the country for most of the year with temperatures averaging around 70 degrees
  • Elsewhere, climates vary from a little chilly to steamy hot
  • Plenty of water in most places, but not harvested
but ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries why
But, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries: Why?
  • Terms of trade and treaties made in the past
  • Lack of colonization and outside influences
  • Authoritarian history
  • Border disputes
  • Role of the church
  • Harmful traditional practices and beliefs
  • A very conservative and traditional society, with strong authoritarian tendencies
  • A very bureaucratic country
  • High birth rate
  • Land tenure
some statistics
Some statistics
  • The average age at death is 46
  • HIV AIDS rate 7.3% (Millennium Aids Campaign Ethiopia prepared FHAPCO). Teachers are one of two high risk groups for HIV/AIDs: supply less than numbers dying.
  • Most primary teachers have only one year of training after grade 10: 17 year olds teach class of over 100.
  • Worst in the world for road traffic accidents
  • Female genital mutilation and abduction are illegal, but common
  • Forced early marriage – the average age of full marriage (sexual) is 12 and a half and 11 is common
some more statistics
Some more statistics
  • The 3rd poorest country in the world
  • 85% of the population live in the countryside
  • Most have no access to sanitation or running water, even in the towns
  • The average person lives on considerably less than 50p a day
  • Around 50% of the population is Christian, 40% Muslim and 10% animist
  • There are 86 languages spoken in Ethiopia
but there are reasons to be cheerful
BUT there are reasons to be cheerful
  • Ethiopia as a country is determined to modernise (and if anything a little too ambitious)
  • ICT is a priority: The plan is to have 12,000 regional hubs
  • The big push is quality of teaching and numbers in education at all levels, starting with primary
  • There are thriving towns and modern and traditional businesses
  • There is little religious tension
more reasons to be cheerful
More reasons to be cheerful
  • More primary education for girls means later marriage and fewer children
  • Power has been devolved from the centre to local authorities
  • There have been (imperfect) general elections
  • The war with Eritrea has not been active for 8 years
  • Infrastructure development (roads, water and ICT especially) is proceeding fast
  • Very little corruption
ethiopia using education to develop
Ethiopia using education to develop

Education from 1996/7 to 2004/5:

  • 54.7% more primary schools, from 10,394 to 16,563
  • 85% of the new schools are in rural areas.
  • Primary Enrolment Rate grew from 34.7%, to in 79.8% (71.5% for girls and 88% for boys).
  • 53.5% more secondary schools from 369 to 690 in
  • Enrolment Rate grew from 8.4% to 27%: girls from 7% to 19.6%.
  • Public technical/vocational training colleges grew from 17 before 1994 to 199
my role
My role
  • Volunteer for two and a half years, paid on a local salary
  • Higher education management advisor to the Minister of Education and Vice Minister for HE
  • Acting Director of the Higher Education Strategy Centre (a mixture of HEFCE and HEPI)
what i did
What I did
  • Chaired a National Committee of Enquiry into Governance, Leadership and Management in HE
  • Developed a formula to distribute a block grant to universities
  • Studied what should be the partnership between the public and private sector HEIs
  • Researched what the 13 new HEIs to be opened in the country should do

I will some aspects of cover the 13 new HEIs Study

higher education is expanding very rapidly
Higher Education is expanding very rapidly
  • From 1996/7 to 2004/5 HE grew from one university to 9.
  • Student numbers grew from 35,000 to 187,500 in 2004/5
  • 13 new HEIs are to be opened in the next couple of years
  • Numbers in existing HEIs are to double by 2009
the context for higher education is changing very rapidly
The context for Higher Education is changing very rapidly

New HE Proclamation:

  • More autonomy
  • More independent Boards
  • Move from line budgets to block grant
  • Student and staff rights
  • A quality assurance agency
  • Pedagogic support units
  • The Higher Education Strategy Centre
what the 13 new hei study looked at
What the 13 new HEI study looked at
  • Curriculum and pedagogic issues – what does the country need?
  • Organizational and qualifications structures – what is realistic and desirable?
  • Resourcing issues – what can the country afford?
  • An extensive literature review
  • Analysis of various government policies and strategies
  • 50 interviews with a range of representatives of ministries, donor organizations, NGOs and employers
  • Regional workshops with representatives from Education, Health, Capacity Building, and Finance and Economic Development Bureaus, representatives of local business or industry, heads of TVET colleges, heads of a secondary school and representatives from HEIs in each region
  • Studies of relevance to the research by contracted researchers each focused on a particular region or sub regions
  • Visits by research assistants to four regions
is the ethiopian he a system
Is the Ethiopian HE a system?

If a higher education system is defined as:

  • a set of interrelated institutions
  • each with its own function within the system,
  • each with its own goals,
  • each of which makes a particular contribution to the functioning of the country

Ethiopia has a collection of institutions rather

than a system.

recommendations new forms of hei
Recommendations: New forms of HEI

Not all the new HEIs can or should be university


  • Universities (Adama)
  • University colleges (Dire Dawa and Dilla) Affiliated higher education colleges (the rest)

- with a close relationship with an existing university

- with close regional ties

- offering 12 + 1 and 12 + 2 only

  • Need for a more developed qualifications framework

PhD (MSc + 3)

MA/MSc+1 absent

MA/MSc (BA/BSc + 2)

BA/BSc +1 absent


12+1 & 12+2


Grade 12

The Present Qualification Pyramid in Ethiopia

recommendations a new qualifications framework
Recommendations: A New Qualifications Framework
  • 12 + 1: Higher Education Certificate
  • 12+2: Associate Degree
  • 12+ 3: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Bachelors +1: Post Graduate Certificate
  • Bachelor’s +2: MA/MBA/MSc
  • Bachelor’s +3: MPhil
  • PhD
recommendations pedagogic issues
Recommendations: Pedagogic issues

All courses should include:

  • Entrepreneurialism
  • Work focus and problem solving
  • HIV/AIDS issues
  • Inclusivity issues


  • Less curriculum
  • New methods of staff development
  • Focus on what Ethiopia needs
recommendations new sources of funding
Recommendations: New sources of funding
  • Higher rates of graduate tax
  • Charges for services such as food and lodging (perhaps supported by food vouchers for the poorest)
  • Local recruitment (to save on lodging provision)
  • Admitting some fee-paying students over and above those allocated by Government.
recommendations staffing
Recommendations: Staffing
  • Focusing mainly on one and two year higher education qualifications and a limited number of programs
  • Paying postgraduate degree holders as ‘master instructors’ to design the programs, give the lead lectures, do lesson plans for seminars; and second mark a proportion of assignments
  • Employing graduate assistants to undertake seminars and first marking of assignments
  • (The existing universities) expanding post graduate training for instructors rapidly and making it relevant for Ethiopia’s new HEIs
  • Less PG study abroad
recommendations ict
Recommendations: ICT
  • ICT in distance learning: where there is demand, in mixed media mode; in cooperation with each other and international HEIs
  • In administration: systems for procurement and supplies; asset monitoring; transport; estates management; finance, registry; human resource management; libraries; committee records etc
  • All new HEIs have broadband quality ICT in all classrooms; instructor offices; administrative offices; classrooms and libraries and the hardware to make these functional.