Ethiopia lifts ban on distance education

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Ethiopia's Federal Ministry of Education has lifted its ban on distance education, after a one-and-half month long negotiation with private institutions ended last week in agreement. At the end of the last academic year, the Ministry scrapped all distance education programs of both private and public institutions in the country due to quality concerns.
This was made through a directive issued on August 26, 2010 and sent by the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency to industry stakeholders, including 64 private institutions. Following that, the private institutions, led by Ethiopian Private Higher Education Institutions Association (EPHEIA), were engaged in various negotiations with the education minister “to clear the gray areas” and come to an understanding. The two parties came to an agreement last Friday that lifted the banning of off-campus education and expansion of education programs along with opening new campuses by private institutions.

The agreement, however, was made under a condition of the private universities and colleges implementing government policy that forces them to outline their curriculum based on a strict 70 to 30 ratio between natural sciences and technology versus social sciences and humanity studies.Based on the agreement, the private institutions will have a two year period after which they would be expected to fully implement the new curricula. According to Nega Namaga of EPHEIA, the agreement further entails a periodical scrutiny by the ministry before the private institutions graduate their students.
“It’s a fruit of a long negotiation and we are happy with the move the ministry made,” said Nega. Based on the agreement, the ministry will lift its sanction of any regular new program, increment of student’s enrolment capacity, setting up new institutions, or even opening new branches for private institutions. Concerning those institutions that have been offering postgraduate studies after entering a special contract with the government, they shall continue to do so under close periodic scrutiny and evaluation. It is only when it gets approved by the concerned authorities that they can admit new students.

Training of teachers and health workers, however, remains to be given solely to public institutions as the ministry still doubts the capability of private educational institutions. Nega also pointed out that the Association will acquire its own Quality Assurance body in the future. “We are going to scrutinize ourselves and improve the service given by members of the association, but for that to happen, the government should support our endeavor,” said Nega.

The Federal Ministry of Education has lifted its ban on distance education, after a one-and-half month long negotiation with private institutions ended last week in agreement. At the end of the last academic year, the Ministry scrapped all distance education programs of both private and public institutions in the country due to quality concerns. This was made through a directive issued on August 26, 2010 and sent by the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency to industry stakeholders, including 64 private institutions. Following that, the private institutions, led by Ethiopian Private Higher Education Institutions Association (EPHEIA), were engaged in various negotiations with the education minister “to clear the gray areas” and come to an understanding.

The two parties came to an agreement last Friday that lifted the banning of off-campus education and expansion of education programs along with opening new campuses by private institutions. The agreement, however, was made under a condition of the private universities and colleges implementing government policy that forces them to outline their curriculum based on a strict 70 to 30 ratio between natural sciences and technology versus social sciences and humanity studies.

Based on the agreement, the private institutions will have a two year period after which they would be expected to fully implement the new curricula. According to Nega Namaga of EPHEIA, the agreement further entails a periodical scrutiny by the ministry before the private institutions graduate their students.

“It’s a fruit of a long negotiation and we are happy with the move the ministry made,” said Nega. Based on the agreement, the ministry will lift its sanction of any regular new program, increment of student’s enrolment capacity, setting up new institutions, or even opening new branches for private institutions.

Concerning those institutions that have been offering postgraduate studies after entering a special contract with the government, they shall continue to do so under close periodic scrutiny and evaluation. It is only when it gets approved by the concerned authorities that they can admit new students. Training of teachers and health workers, however, remains to be given solely to public institutions as the ministry still doubts the capability of private educational institutions.Nega also pointed out that the Association will acquire its own Quality Assurance body in the future. “We are going to scrutinize ourselves and improve the service given by members of the association, but for that to happen, the government should support our endeavor,” said Nega.  Source (Capital)
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