35,000 University Students Out of Campuses due to Violence: Minister

By Staff Reporter

Hirut-WoldemariamJanuary 16, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopian Minister of Science and Higher Learning Institutions Professor Hirut Woldemariam said more than 35,000 university students have left universities to their families due to the protracted violence occurring on the university grounds.

In a consultative forum held in Addis Ababa, the minister said 640 students, 40 teachers and 240 administrative employees who were allegedly involved in conflicts in 22 campuses have been suspended across the country.

Hirut said her ministry is considering re-placing university students as part of an effort to solve the unfolding conflicts. She said the measure being taken against the suspects of the conflict will continue in a strengthened way.

A report revealed by a committee in charge of investigating the source conflicts on campuses said violent attacks on innocent university students have forced 22 universities to close doors at least temporarily.

According to the report, more than 35,000 students have left campuses due to conflicts that resulted from different factors, mainly political. Hirut said the investigations conducted at the universities were successful in identifying the root causes of the conflicts.

The investigations were conducted at various universities located in Amhara and Oromia regional states as well as Dire Dawa city administration.

The ministry has taken various disciplinary measures involving penalties ranging from a one-year suspension to total dismissal but the security situation has gone worse.

The report blamed different political groups and hired individuals inside and outside campuses for the unfolding conflicts between ethnic Amhara and Oromia students.

“Those students who received missions to destabilize the universities have caused the loss of lives, inflicted psychological, physical, material damages on innocent university students, the report added.

According to the minister, exaggerated, biased and misleading media reports have also worsened the security situations on university grounds.

The report further noted that some leaders of different political parties were identified while giving trainings and missions to aggravate the security situation.

Failure to take legal measures against the perpetrators and delayed responses by university managements have aggravated the problem as well, the report noted

The unfolding ethnic-violence at Ethiopian Universities seems to reflect the critical political situation and the ethnic tension that Ethiopia as a country is facing today.

At least 12 students were killed and hundreds of others wounded due to politically-charged ethnic tension in half of the country’s universities since classes began in October last year.

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