By Ghelawdewos Araia, PhD
Tigrai Online - July 09, 2013
The Institute of Development and Education for Africa (IDEA), Inc. extends its heartfelt congratulations to all 2013 Ethiopian Universities graduates and celebrates their highest academic achievements with them. IDEA is proud to witness the spectacular and remarkable milestone that the Ethiopian students of 2013 have made and have colorfully celebrated in all the university campuses.
There are now more than thirty universities in Ethiopia; the oldest is Addis Ababa University and the newest Addigrat University. While the former has been conducting graduation ceremonies since its foundation as University College of Addis Ababa in 1950, the latter has yet to celebrate its first graduates. In between these two universities fall many universities such as Mekelle University, Jimma University, Wollo University, Bahir Dar University etc.
Mekelle University has celebrated its 21st annual graduation on June 6, 2013 and a total of 4,254 students have graduated with baccalaureates and masters degrees and while 3,514 have graduated with their BA degree, 532 have gotten their MA and 208 obtained post graduate diplomas.
Jimma University, founded in 1999 has now an enrollment close to 35,000 and on June 29, 2013 it celebrated its first round academic year graduation. The total numbers of graduates of 2,766 are from the College of Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Technology, College of Social Sciences and Law, and School of graduates. 31 of the students graduated in biomedical engineering and this is first of its kind in Ethiopia. Moreover, Jimma University is proud to produce 532 female graduates.
Bahir Dar University boasted the highest number of graduates; a total of 7,017 students graduated with their first and second degrees, and like Jimma University Bahir Dar has also its sui generis that make the university unique among Ethiopian universities and it is the successful graduation of 154 marine engineers.
During the graduation ceremony at Wollo University, in his inaugural speech the university president congratulated the graduating students but he also challenged them by saying, “you should be creators of jobs and not expecting it for granted to be given to you.” Interestingly, students in all respective universities seem to understand the motto of self-reliance instead of totally depending on the government for their survival.
Based on the implicit assumption that the graduates can create their own businesses and become self-reliant could be a gratifying posture, but not necessarily reflecting the realities on the ground. Self-reliance could not simply be translated into action unless there is a concomitant industrial base to accommodate the graduating students. Ethiopia is now on the threshold of industrial transformation and it will take sometime to fully meet the job demands of graduates and it stands to reason to gauge and/or question the employment capacity of the country. Transformation involves a change of intermediate vector, but sometimes (given the uncertainties of the global economy) the trajectory of transformation could be idiosyncratic and unpredictable. In this kind of scenario, thus, if the students have achieved some sort of mindset to work in the rural areas instead of dwelling in the cities and engage in clerical jobs only, at the very outset a panacea for the problem of unemployment could be reasonably achieved.
The graduated students have successfully accomplished the requirements for the undergraduate and graduate degrees and they must have been doing their assignments, but the first thing they have done throughout their college years was the will and commitment to learn and pay attention to the data to be learned, and here were sown the essential components of he creative process.
Based on the realities on the ground in Ethiopia, thus, can we affirmatively deduce that the Ethiopian fresh graduates are on uncharted waters or on limpid waters? The answer could be both, because given the late Ethiopian start in industrialization the country could not instantly guarantee jobs for all graduates but given the fast economic growth the country is scoring and the overall right track on development programs, these graduates are going to enjoy the fruits and outcome of industrialization.
The classes of 2013 of Ethiopian university students are not only the torchbearers of intellectual and professional achievements, but they are also the cultural continuities of their forbears and the repository of educational heritage. More importantly, the Ethiopian graduates have now delineated the foundations for a new history of Ethiopia and the least we can do is congratulate them and celebrate their achievements.
On behalf of the Institute of Development and Education for Africa (IDEA), Inc.
Ghelawdewos Araia, PhD
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