Society of African Journal Editors

Ethiopian Journal of Higher Education

Universities, Paradigms, and Ontological Choices

Authors: Daniel Smith

Journal: Ethiopian Journal of Higher Education

Higher education in Ethiopia, like it is the case elsewhere, is expected to seek, explain, and disseminate knowledge. Beyond this, it is expected to play an active role in the socio-economic and cultural transformation of the society. More specifically, higher education institutions are expected to produce graduates capable of bringing about change and improvement in the society. There has been serious concern about the quality of teaching and learning that takes place in these institutions. The gap between societal expectations and actual performance of higher education institutions in Ethiopia became a serious concern among many people. The management and teachers of higher education institutions in the country carried out a series of observations and deliberations on the quality of teaching and learning at this level. This paper attempts to examine and explain the reaction of the Ethiopian Higher education Institutions to this situation. In particular, the paper examines the way teaching and learning experiences are organized; the approaches that are adopted; the institutional support made available for the teachers and learners and related issues in higher education in Ethiopia. Observations and reflections of teachers in selected higher education institutions, statistical reports and related documents are used as the source of data. Observations and reflections of the higher education teachers depict the overall situation of quality of teaching and learning in higher education particularly in government higher education institutions. The participants of pedagogical training programs organized by the National Pedagogical Training for the higher education teachers were requested to write their observations concerning quality of teaching and learning in their respective institutions. The higher education teachers identified several problems that affect quality of teaching and learning in higher education institutions. Dominance of the lecture method, poor guidance and counseling services, lack of pedagogical training, lack of experience and qualification of teachers, attitude towards education course and teaching, evaluation mechanisms and limitations in the area of research as well as shortage of facilities were identified as problems across most higher education institutions. The paper suggests some actionable alternatives to the problems.