Troubled Ethiopian Universities to Resume Classes Next Week: Official

By Staff Reporter

Woldia-UniversityDecember 28, 2019 ( -- The Ministry of Science and Higher Learning Institutions said those universities that suspend teachings due to ethnic-based conflicts for more than two months, will resume classes next week.

Speaking to reporters, Communication Affairs Director for the Ministry, Dechassa Gurumu, said the ministry has dispatched circulars to all universities across the country to introduce a new directive of entrance and exit times for all students as of next Monday.

According to the directive, students cannot leave campus before 6 AM in the morning and after 7 PM in the evening. The directive advises students to stay in their dormitories after 10 PM.

Shift leaders and members of federal police will be in charge to oversee that the directive is fully respected. According to the communication affairs director, the time restriction will be lifted as soon as the security problems are resolved.

Dechassa recalled that two students in Deberebirhan University in Amhara state and Wellega University in Oromia state were killed during night time and out of university grounds.

Almost all fatalities occurred either on university grounds or dormitories and the director said all the necessary preparations are in place to prevent possible attacks in those places.   

Conflict incidents have diminished after members of the federal police were deployed in all university grounds.

The ethnic-based conflict began in Woldia University after an ethnic Oromo student was killed by ethnic Amhara students after personal disputes. In revenge, dozens of ethnic Amhara students were killed in universities located in Oromia regional state.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Ministry of Education has changed its 70/30 policy on university education that forces 70 percent of students joining universities to choose the Natural Sciences stream (whether they choose it or not) and 30 percent to join the Social Sciences stream.

By forcing the majority of students to study natural science fields, the government planned to make up for the lack of engineers in the country. Although this policy has benefited the country’s development, according to some people, it is now found outdated. The country no longer needs more engineers; it is rather the opposite, one that created an imbalance in the labor market.

Due to the overwhelming number of engineers that graduate each year over the last several years, there is a surplus of engineers in the labor market. According to Research Gate, the unemployment rate amongst engineers is 14.5 percent while the national average is 5.4 percent. This clearly shows the country already has enough engineers.

The Ministry in a statement on Saturday said that the 70/30 quota is replaced by 55/45 quota and hence 55 percent of students joining universities will choose the Natural Sciences stream and 45 percent will join the Social Sciences stream.

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