By Yonas Abiye
Addis Ababa, September 7, 2011 (Ezega.com) - The Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) of Ethiopia on Monday announced that it has banned five private higher education institutions for quality concerns.
The agency also said it has given a one year time for other 13 private colleges to improve the quality of their education and achieve the necessary standards based on the inputs and directives the agency demands.
General Director of ERQA, Tesfaye Teshome (Phd), said that the five banned private institution are not allowed to continue as education centers.
“Starting from this announcement, these institutions can not give any higher education,” Tesfaye said.
He further explained that private institutions are classified in three categories based on the institutions capability of fulfilling the relevant quality and standard that determines their fate of continuity in their business. As a result institutions are classified with Level A, B and C.
Those institutions which are said capable of fulfilling quality education are classified as ‘Level A’, while those institutions whose efficiency and potential are believed to be improved with receiving assistance and monitoring step by step are labeled as ‘Level B’.
The third category is Level C. ‘Level C’ is said to be consisting of those institutions which have ‘a visible shortfall’ to ensure quality and relevance educations but have relatively disparity among them.
According to Tesfaye, 57 institutions are labeled as “level A’ for fulfilling “the minimum requirements" and 13 institutions are categorized under Level B.
However, ‘Level C’ is also identified in two sub-categories including Level C1 and Level C2.
Level C1 classification says: despite the existence of visible shortfall in some key parameters but maintain a relatively better position which are given a chance to demonstrate improvement in short term. This sub category will also have a chance to keep delivering the education service upon the assurance approved by the agency. Meanwhile the second sub-category under ‘Level C2’ is for those which are to be kicked out of the education business due to lack the basic minimum requirement.
The five colleges which are kicked out of the business are Hayome College of Health science from Ambo, Nile College from Mekelle, Aleph College of Health from Awassa, Orbit Information Technology College from Addis Ababa, Beklo Bet Campus, as well as Fura College from Yirgalem town.
He further elaborated that nine key parameters are being carried out to evaluate the quality and efficiency of higher education.
ETRQA also announced that it is carrying out evaluation and assessment to identify the quality of distance education among government and private institutions.
“At institutional level we have also evaluated the Distance Education system. This sector has lack of basic educational quality,” the Director said.
According to the Director, over 10,000 students who are enrolled in distance education are set to sit for evaluation exam in some 73 centers across the country.
“With students’ results, we can identify the level of the education quality given by both government and private higher education. As a result, we will identify the level of our institutions and their students’ knowledge.
He however stressed that the public should note that government has no the intention to shut down distance education.
“Government has no intention to shut distance education. There is no any new policy for distance education. The problem is poor quality exists in distance education. But these institutions would go on pursuing their job with their students.
All second year and third year students are due for the exam scheduled of 31st September this year.
But the examination does not include some institutions which are delivering distance education in cooperation with foreign universities.
Ezega has been attempting to get the reactions of private higher education institutions and contacted Dr. Nega Namaga, President of Private Higher Learning Institutions Association. However Dr. Nega told Ezega.com he could not comment on the issue at this time. But he announced that his association will announce its position in few days on the issuance of the new directive.
Yonas Abiye is Addis Ababa based reporter for Ezega.com. He can be reached by sending email through this form.