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Activating the Ivory Towers in Mekelle City to Revitalize the AtseYohannes Secondary School

By Desta, Asayehgn, Ph.D.,June 04, 2012

Atse Yohannes Secondary School
Atse Yohannes IV secondary school

Atse Yohannes IV secondary school, started in 1957 with about 70 students, has expanded the intellectual and productive capacity of its students for decades (for a detailed historical analysis of AtseYohannes, please see Kiros, 2012). As a result of acquiring the necessary educational foundation given at the Atse Yohannes Secondary School, nowadays we find a number of its graduates have achieved very prominent positions and are significantly contributing to the engaged through their involvement.

Though the school has been prominent in providing vital servicesto its community, it has not been attending to the necessary maintenance of its buildings. The school building and classrooms are degenerating and are very antiquated. The outdated desks and chairs are worn out. Many of the blackboards have deteriorated and the science laboratories are so dysfunctional they are hard to recognize (Girmay, 2010).

Moreover, the school teachers lack opportunities for advancement and they are not motivated to effectively overcome the challenges they face daily. What is alarming is that although Atse Yohannes Secondary School is a feeder school for the higher levels of education in the surrounding areas, the universities have begun to believe  that “garbage in is garbage out,” and  have not done much to revitalize the educational quality of the once famous Atse Yohannes Secondary School.

Therefore, given that the educational quality of Atse Yohannes Secondary School has deteriorated over recent years, the educational program at the Atse Yohannes Secondary School, Universities in Mekelle City ( i.e., Mekelle University, Mekelle Institute of Technology, the college of Business and Economics, etc.) could play a major role to bring about communalities and  sustained interaction between the university students and the students of the Atse Yohannes Secondary School. Establishing outreach tutorial services is one way of bridging the gulf that exists between the tertiary educational institutions in Mekelle and the Atse Yohannes Secondary School. The outreach tutorial services to be conducted at the Atse Yohannes Secondary School with partnerships in higher educational institutions found in Mekelle City could be dedicated to support the learners in all academic subjects and eventually revitalize the declining educational system.

The purpose of this short article is therefore to demonstrate briefly that one strategy for the tertiary institutions in Mekelle City to get out of the morphed ivory towers is to offer tutorial services to the underprivileged students of the Atse Yohannes Secondary School. Therefore, I suggest that a way of improving the educational standard at the Atse Yohannes School is to recruit and pay an allowance to some highly talented students from surrounding universities to provide tutorial classes to the Atse Yohannes students.

In short, one way to bridge the chasm that exists between the universities in Mekelle City and the Atse Yohannes Secondary School is to bring in university students  to contribute tutorial services to the AtseYohannes Secondary students. Since the tutorial services need to be designed to enhance students’ learning in an interactive setting, and to be tailored to motivate high school students to stay in school, do well, and graduate,  it is vital that the teaching assistant, or tutor is: a) majoring in the subject he/she wants to tutor, or to help the high school students with homework, b) maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, c) already experienced as a tutor, d) required to state briefly what he/she would contribute to the tutorial program before  being given the job, and e) is willing to render the tutorial services for at least five hours per week.   

In order to create a collaborative effort between higher educational institutions in Mekelle City and the Atse Yohannes Secondary School, so that university students can pass on their wisdom, the Atse Yohannes Alumni Association (AYAA) needs to play a major role in funding this type of worthwhile project. If effective bridging through tutorial services is to be achieved, the AYAA members need to be role models and finance this project. The AYAA members need to recognize their moral obligation to pay back for the valuable education they received from the Atse Yohannes Secondary School.

The AYAA members need to allocate funds to pay an allowance to the university students so that they can carry out the desired tutorial services effectively. The collaborative committee needs to be chaired and supervised by a passionate retired alumnus, teacher, or faculty member.  Effective avenues need to be established to encourage the interaction of the tutors with the high school teachers who are instructing the students in the subjects being tutored. In addition, the secondary administrators need to offer support to the tutors and to acknowledge the universities for the meaningful collaborative efforts they are rendering. If these actions are taken, there is hope that the Atse Yohannes Secondary School will once again become deserving of its original reputation for excellence in education.


Girmay, A. (2010).“Welcome to AtseYohannes Alumni Association: History”  Online, available at http://www.atseyohannes.org/history.

Kiros, B. (2012).  “Ethiopia: The Legacy of AtseYohannes IV.” For other historical documents written of AtseYohannes, please refer to the writings of Zewdie Gebreselassie, Richard Pankhurst, Ghelawdewos, A. etc. 

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