At the second annual conference on improving the quality of higher education, which was held at Capital Hotel on Thursday, former Ethiopian Minister of Education, Genet Zewdie (PhD), announced the launch of a new foundation to advocate for the rights of women and girls in Ethiopia.
“Education is a powerful element to equalize people,” she said. “Education has two objectives, to produce well-trained manpower and to democratize society.”
The foundation is to have three objectives, according to the erstwhile minister. To produce a women’s academic journal, train women leaders on how to apply for grants and author a book that is representative of all ethnicities with a feminist twist.
The former minister, a onetime Addis Ababa University lecturer and ambassador to India, reflected on her own journey, where she saw few females ascended to full professorships or as presidents of universities.
“In the 70-year history of the Addis Ababa University, there have only been two; yes two female full professors,” she said.
The German Cooperation had invited executives and deans and founders through its Sustainable Training and Education Programme (STEP), which is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale ZUsammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. They had speakers and a slew of experts in the area of education from Germany, Armenia and the United States.
The German government has increasingly been spending resources in Ethiopia to expand vocational and technical training that will complement the economic needs of the nation. For Germany, this is widely seen as a strategic plan to help curb mass migration to Europe.
The conference was seen as a hub for educators to advocate for a uniform and universal Ethiopian quality education to help citizens gain skills and have them become employable so that they no longer have to take the risk of the crossing Mediterranean Ocean and reach the soils of Europe looking for opportunities.
Ethiopia has increasingly placed high-level emphasis on access to education with little regards to its quality with over two dozen higher institutions and more private colleges opened in the last two decades.