The government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has made education a key precedence in all its development accomplishments with a strong sincerity that quality education and training is both fundamental to human development and critically linked to broad-based economic growth and democratic governance. This is evidenced by the fact that the share of education and training budget has become nearly a quarter of the total annual government budget.
In other words, the FDRE government has prioritized and increasingly allocated huge resources for the expansion of equitable, relevant and quality education at all levels and promising results have been achieved in the sector. Presently various aggressive steps are being made and concerted efforts are exerted to transform educational management and there by improve educational quality.
Education is fundamental to the successful achievement of sustainable development to form a link between knowledge generation and transfer of knowledge to society for their entry into the labour market and to contribute to the societal development through outreach and service to society.
Establishing a transparent, accountable and efficient system at every level of the education hierarchy is given due attention and as a result there are encouraging changes being observed through time. In general, status of most of the education indicators in ESDP V confirms that the ministry has made progress on many fronts.
More children have access to better education today than ever before. The enrollment and number of fields and disciplines of training and education in TVET centers and higher education institutions have significantly increased in the last ten years. The progress made in improving the quality of general education under the General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP), result oriented TVET and quality teaching in higher education institutions is very promising.
Higher education institutions bear a profound, moral responsibility to increase the awareness, knowledge, skills, and values needed to create a just and sustainable future. Higher education often plays a critical but often overlooked role in making this vision a reality. It prepares most of the professionals who develop, lead, manage, teach, work in, and influence society’s institutions.
Thus, Higher Education Institutions have critical and tangible role in developing the principles, qualities and awareness not only needed to perpetuate the sustainable development philosophy, but to improve upon its delivery.
Higher Education in Ethiopia includes education programs which are offered as undergraduate degree for three, four or more years and specialized degrees such as Master’s and PhD programs. The focus areas of higher education institutions are teaching learning, research and community service.
The Higher Education Institutions of Ethiopia include 38 functional government higher education institutions or universities (35 are accountable to the Ministry of Education and the others are the Ethiopian Civil Service University, Kotebe Metropolitan University and Oromia State University) and accredited non-government higher education institutions and 98 non-government institutions.
The enrollment of students to different programs in the last ten years has shown remarkable growth. In 2008 E.C, (2015/16) a significant number of students got admission for the undergraduate programs. There were 778,766 students enrolled in this program. Completion of this program is certified by awarding a bachelor's degree. The degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) and the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) are also classified under undergraduate programs and are included in undergraduate, Ministry of Education.
If it is analyzed, in the year 2008 E.C. (2015/16) the total undergraduate enrollment (government and non-government) regular, evening, summer and distance programs is 778,766 of which 265,851 (34.14%) are females. The majority, i.e. 84.8%, of these students are enrolled in government institutions, whereas private institutions cover 15%. The later may need greater enhancement. It can also be seen from the table and chart that undergraduate enrollment is highest in regular programs and lowest in distance programs. The share of the regular program from the total undergraduate enrollment is 54.6%.
Enrollment in Undergraduate by Programs, 2008 E.C. (2015/16), are regular 424,946, extension 137,639 summer 123,726 and distance 92,455 those add to the total of 778,766.
If the long trends in undergraduate enrollment in government and non-governmental institutions are to be considered the increment in the registration of students between 1999 (2006/2007) in which 203,399 students were enrolled and 2008 E.C. (2015/16) is 382.87%.
This indicates the augmentation of the capacities of Ethiopian universities to enroll large number of students and the effort of the government made in the educational endeavor.
There are also critical issues that require extraordinary efforts for the better. In this connection, MoE fully understands the scope of challenges confronting the education and training system and is working with greater zeal and commitment focusing on improving the learning outcome of students, skill training and employability of the adolescent/youth as well as quality and relevance of higher education.
The status of performance indicators will inform the processes of policy formulation, planning and strategy development; strategic decision making; reforming; monitoring and evaluation; research as well as managing the distribution and allocation of educational resources and services if used appropriately and in context.
The ministry underlines and gives due recognition that the progress it has made so far was achieved through a high level of commitment and consensus at all levels; active engagement and contribution of all stakeholders, including officials at all levels, teachers, principals, parents, students and learners, local communities, civil society organizations, the private sector and development partners. We are very optimistic in that the momentum will continue with renewed dedication, ownership and partnership in the years ahead.
In conclusion, the role of education in Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan achievement is pivotal. In different words, the betterment of the society depends on quality and accessible education. In addition, Sustainable developments’ imperative should become paramount in training students and specialists. Education is a fundamental to the victorious achievement of sustainable development to form a connection between knowledge generation and transfer of knowledge to society for their entry into the labour market and to contribute to the societal development through outreach and service to society.
BY DIRRIBA TESHOME