Academic Staff, Resources and Students for Higher Education in Ethiopia

In 2010, all academic staff were poorly paid and there were no incentives for good work or penalties for poor practice. At AAU, academic staff could increase their income with additional work outside the university. This was not stopped because it would result in loss of experienced teachers. There was resentment that Indian professors were paid more than twice as much as Ethiopian professors. MU had the potential for improvement but, given low pay and possible opportunities for work in new private colleges, they could soon resemble AAU. JU, being in a remote area, had no opportunities for outside work, so staff were fully engaged with their work but they would leave if given the opportunity. Staff thought teaching was not up-to-date or based on practice because research was not being done. Staff were relying on foreign teaching materials and textbooks which might not relate to the Ethiopian situation. Class sizes and resource shortages meant that laboratory work, practical work, field work, essays and projects were gradually being phased out. Courses were reduced to theory without practice thus encouraging rote learning to pass exams.

All three universities suffered from poor resource. JU resource shortages were most severe with basic facilities still under construction. Students had to go to nearby Haramaya university. In 2007/08, MU only had 5 academic staff with Ph.Ds while JU had one Ph.D. AAU staff were advising MU students and JU students depended on Haramaya staff. All Ethiopian universities suffer from poor library facilities, large class sizes, and lack of equipment. The internet has the potential to access world knowledge but there is only one internet provider which is run by the government. All ICT suffers from poor connectivity and a shortage of technicians.

The MoE were selecting students inadequately prepared for university since 56.3% of students in 2008/09 and 50.6% of students in 2009/10 had not attained the required 50% minimum pass mark for university entrance. Students focused on obtaining diplomas and degrees since this was what society required. Student non-completion for those entering in 2007/08 were highest at AAU (33%), particularly for Physics (77%) and Economics (57%), followed by MU (29%) and JU (24%).