The Disgraceful State of Higher Education in Ethiopia

For the minority clique who are on the helm of the Ethiopian people, tyranny is democracy, repression is freedom, concentration of wealth in the hands of its inner circle is economic growth and development. 

One cannot understand the sad state of higher education in Ethiopia without understanding TPLF/EPRDF’s distractive political and economic agenda
One cannot understand the sad state of higher education in Ethiopia without understanding the regime’s distractive political and economic agenda in thecountry

By Alem Mamo,

TPLF/EPRDF’s major bragging source over the last number of years has been its ‘achievements’ in the education sector, particularly in university education. The ruling group constantly brandishes its statics about the ‘expansion’ of higher learning in Ethiopia. What is not included in the fraudulent statistics is the obliteration of quality and depth of teaching and learning in these so-called ‘universities.’

As we have seen in most of the TPLF/EPRDF failed and corrupt policies, the establishment of these so called ‘universities’ is nothing more than a construction contract to its own business conglomerates and university administration appointment to its loyal cadres. 

A university is more than a building. A university in its true form requires several contextual, philosophical, and logistical grounds to fully carry out its historical and traditional role as a place of higher learning.

The higher learning landscape in Ethiopia under TPLF/EPRDF suffers from four acute problems. First, there is a chronic lack of academic freedom and autonomy, which is an essential component for any university to discharge its responsibilities. Second, there is an absence of qualified and competent instructor and mentors. Third is the almost non-existent nature of 21st century tools, such Internet communication, and finally there is the occupation and control of higher learning institutions by uneducated TPLF/EPRDF cadres. These key factors, coupled with the overall social, economic, and political problems, continue to plague the country’s higher learning landscape equating to a level similar to the mass wedding ceremonies orchestrated by a religious group lead by a self-proclaimed messiah, such as Reverend Sun Myung Moon[1]

In fact the assault on higher learning began in 1993 when TPLF/EPRDF fired 42 seasoned academics from Addis Ababa University and replaced them with its loyal cadres.[2] Ever since then the ruling group has continued to destroy higher learning under the guise of ‘expanding’ education. Universities and educational institutions in general are places where students are taught how to think, instead of what to think. Furthermore, universities are places in which curious learners are provided with the tools and the support to conduct research that has practical values in the social, economic, and political life of the society. Instead, the regime has built political re-education camps[3] where political cadres have the final word on the academic, social, and administrative life of an institution.

Indeed merit and qualification has never been TPLF/EPRDF’s s strong suit. Starting from senior cabinet positions to all the way to the lowest level of the administrative body they have appointed their cadres to run the country, and, quite frankly, the regime is not going to treat universities in any different way.

‘Massification’ of higher learning in Ethiopia, preferring quantity of graduates to quality, has reached a critical stage, and it is becoming very problematic to use the term ‘university’ to describe these diploma mills. In TPLF/EPRDF’s Ethiopia every institution is forced to be subordinate to the twisted ideology of the regime. The first and foremost pillar of a university anywhere in the world is autonomy and academic freedom. These two elements are the oxygen of a free learning and teaching environment. Contrary to this the ruling group maintains full control over these institutions depriving them the oxygen of freedom they desperately need to breath and function freely.

Maintaining its well-established destructive role TPLF/EPRDF is moulding higher learning institutions in its own image, and the image is not pretty. Infused with ugly and hate filled propaganda, the image of these so-called universities looks like this:

(a) all of these institutions must maintain perceived or real ethnic polarization and tension;

(b) These institution must serve to promote TPLF/EPRDF’s divisive agenda;

(c) all ‘university’ senior management, including presidents, must be members of the TPLF or TPLF manufactured political organizations;

(d) critical thinking and questioning the prevailing orthodoxy equals terrorism; and

(e) university campus informants are part and parcel of the security and surveillance structure of the regime.

The overall decline of the quality of higher learning in Ethiopia is evident in the African and world university rankings.  Currently, according to the African Economist University Rankings, only one university out of 35 so-called universities in Ethiopia appears on the ranking chart.[4] The rest are nowhere to be seen on any of university rankings.

We have come to be accustomed with TPLF/EPRDF lies, such us tyranny is democracy, repression is freedom, concentration of wealth in the hands of its inner circle is economic growth and development. The most tragic one is their political re-education camp ‘universities’.

Finally, one cannot understand the sad state of higher education in Ethiopia without understanding TPLF/EPRDF’s distractive political and economic agenda. Ultimately, these daunting challenges are intertwined and interconnected, therefore they only can find a solution when the fundamentals of the governance parameters are addressed.  Freedom, justice, and democratic accountability are the only solution. In the meantime, those who are enrolled in these institutions should continue to demand better quality as part of their struggle for a free, just, and democratic society.

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The writer could be reached at [email protected]
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20 thoughts on “The Disgraceful State of Higher Education in Ethiopia

  1. Tesfa news, you have closed the only university you have and still you are critsizing the higher education ethiopia. Please you stupied eliets of eritrea stop to critisize the art of work of other people do your owen if you have , the era of eritrean yekslo is over.

    1. Calling Out Idiots · Edit

      If you're going to call anyone "stupid", at least spell it correctly. It's quite evident that you must be a by-product of the Ethiopian education system.

    2. Mr. Yohannes, I understand your un-educated frustration on the messenger, i.e.,
      “How in the hell is the education system in Ethiopia failing!” What you need to do is contact Alem Mamo (which he provided you: [email protected]), the author of the above article to ask him why Ethiopian education has become disgraceful while Ethiopian economy is rising at the speed of light. You should have been used to the destruction (by woyane) of Ethiopia by now. If you are a frequent visitor to tesfanews, you are definitely going to develop an ulcer. What better do you expect from woyane? I hope you realize, Educated Ethiopia is a wonderful thing not only to Eritrea, but to the whole of Africa.

    3. What one can learn reading this Article is that the ruling system in ethiopia haven't any empathy to the country..except stolen the wealth and filling the top post of national values by his cadres. (to have this evidence you don't need to interview an educated intellectual, just talk to a common labor person). This was the main reason why the predecessors failed even in case of unity they were better (the "ANDENET ETHIOPIA MOTTO" one ethiopia) than the bankrupt federal system they imports from their masters, in ethiopia this could never work, except dividing more and more the once united people. To the contrary what is actually teaching the population is to be proud of their ethnic status and false ambiguous to top ranking when they are not equally distributed..Japan or Sweden now very capitalist countries come out after the second world war adopting a national engagement policy (united policy) rather and not based on regionalism that on long term would divide the nation like sadly Yugoslavia.
      As I understand history tells that in past the actual government take the army struggle not invision of a united and prosperous ethiopia but the freedom of tigray..They distracted the population liberalizing the corrupted construction of buildings owned by few elites and foreign enterprises, forgetting the land grabbing they did to foreign multinationals despite their own citizens who now cry in the refugee camps in kenya. With this economic system, social inequality will always rise until the non return point. The artificial faked growth of the ethiopian economy is not fairly distributed among all the population, it's blind multinationals injected capital which doesn't mean ethiopians wealth, ready to shift in any time some where convenient.

      1. It is really shame/funny to see Shabiyas these much be concerned about Ethiopia. First, It's not by Eritreans/Shabiyans that Ethiopia's educational systems or economical development witnessed or criticized. We can't even compare our big Ethiopia with Eritrea and we can't because we don't want to see to our feet. I see the driving motive of the writer and some Shabiyans' comments emanating from deep rooted envy feeling! It is surprising when the writer commit to write the above article forgetting where he is from-Eritrea.I wish if it came from S. Africa or Kenya, having relatively better educational standards. To the fact, why is more than 80,000 Eritrean youth are in refugee in Ethiopia? Among them thousands are attending in those universities for free. If there are better opportunities in Eritrea why are they flooding ( 1000 per week) ? Out of your total ( estimated 6 million) population around 2 millions are dispersed around the world as refugees- which is a frustrating disproportionate. That number is as equal as Ethiopian diasporas in the world out of 90 million population. Our multi-sectoral development is witnessed by the international community and medias, you can deny that fact and we don't expect your conformation. I always laugh when you guys are trying to reason out by saying it's AID or foreign money injection and portray that Eritrea is free of those. Who is investing and controlled the mining sector in your country? Who has built the Inter continental Hotel in Asmara? Whose money rebuilt the Hirgigo diesel power plant bombarded by Ethiopian's pilots ?Eritreans? Hahahaa- I'm sure you won't hide. Why is your lunatic leader is running and crying around the Arab countries for? Begging for various( but mainly economic) AID!! You are begging day and night for foreigners to come and invest ( which you are blaming for Ethiopia as foreign injection) but fails. Who actually want to come and invest in Eritrea except for mining, may be some Arabs! B/c it's not viable to grow business there with not potentials. For us whether you want it or not you will keep hearing Ethiopia's progress and growing dominance in the region being the engine for economic and political developments. Witnessing being regional electric power supplier, modern/ electrified cross-country and city rail way systems, hub for air transport and manufacturing. We don't want to boast like you guys for having the old and archaic colonial Italian factories and Italian architected Asmara, which you have no contribution for except wage. You are adding nothing except seeing them depreciated. All what you hear about Ethiopia is just the beginning, have/ build you patience and will be filled with surprises!!

        1. Dera ethio..we don't mind if the "double standard media" or better fake media tell to the world that ethiopia is doing this or doing that..what is real, is that you're among the poor countries in the world, is not a blame, you can't say us that you're sweden or dubai. I can assure you..I live in italy, we see in the (sub-ways) a unicef reclames asking some euros for the permanent famin in your was that during the derg era and is not changed yet, andy don't forget you're never been colinized. All this is due to failed admin you have..We hear still you get aid from all the west isn't it? Isn't Mr. Geldof sing help Afica every year since the 84 famin (we're the world) putting as first aid need ethio? isn't? infact nobody knows about the existence of because a new Nation, two cause we're not aligned with the "corrupt west system" and we refuse aid from all instituitions you host in ur capital (african dev. bank, imf, eu, usaid, canada, australia, gtz ect), while your admin starting with the late pm are bowing to his west masters just for this reasons..About education, I have a friend who owns a private secondary english school in addis, you know what they say? If weren't for the few private schools (ics, lycee g.m., italian school, sanford ect) which are actually for the foreigners permanent consuls family, no ethiopian benefit from that schools, cause they are expensive to an average ethio. Remember is not an insult is facts. We feel sorry about you as neighbours..then as mentioned above, you have a big potential to become a super power, but requires a brilliant leadership, which not the tigrians who comes from the cave and occupy all the admin posts with out a proper skill or education. Do you deny this? They put you eng. hailemariam desalegn just to quite the southern people, and Ato girma to quite the oromo's..but else? give a glance to all the ceo of the main state runned businesses..of course if you're from tigray then you'll feel a sense of culprit and guilty knowing that at the eye of anyone it is a tangible reality and if this will continue don't forget that soon or later you'll give acount to the people you're can't for indefinite time suppress people, History tells..

        2. Once people realize your lies and deceit, let alone to lead Africa, you will be disgracefully kicked out of every institution. Lies don't run the distance.

    4. The ingenuity of the Eritrean education department to move Asmara university to other location is to accommodate students with quite area,so they do not need to deal with hassle and basal of a city life to concentrate on their education. For your information Mr Yohannes when Eritrean was founded 22 yrs ago we had only one university,now we have several fully functioning universities including Law,Medicin…..located all over .

    5. Yohannes
      Can you read a whole sentence and make sense out of it? Can you tell us who the author of the article is? Your first clue is to look for a name below the tittle of the article. Does it says Tesfanews?
      Your comments only shows that you are another dyslexic Woyane beggar.

  2. Isn't it a shame that to compare the progresses of a country that has never been colonized by any other country, with a country which is new and that doesn't recieve any AID.

    1. johannes ,please write in geez if you are not able to spell words in english. "stupied" is not the only word spelled incorrectly, "owen", "eliets"this words can only be spelled like this by weyane cadres .

  3. your colonial master have well taught you how to write good english.
    Geez is an african languge, idiot
    You should first rid of your colonila and slave mentality!

    1. Again one weyane with rabbish english,what is "langage"is that , the bed sheet that wayanes put over the head by 50 digree temprature.

    1. Guest, did you learned geez in dedebit?
      The only dictionary which translates "amed" as "ash" has to be a home made Woyane dictionary right out of Dedebit University 😀

  4. The creativity of the Eritrean instruction division to move Asmara college to other area is to oblige scholars with very area, so they don't have to manage bother and basal of a city life to focus on their training somewhat shared by in regards to their art work related courses.

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