Ethiopia has been spending a huge amount of money on its citizens in order to help them further purse education abroad. Every year, it earmarks around 13 million Birr to channel the budget towards scholarship. But, is the scholarship paying off?
Foreign Relations and Scholarship Director at the Ministry of Education (MOE), Meteku Berecha told EPA journalists that providing scholarship is significant for the nation in keeping and sustaining its benefits. Often, the scholarship is provided for university lecturers, he added.
The director mentioned aside from assisting students to be fruitful,the scholarship helps to troubleshoot the socioeconomic problems besetting it.There is no gainsaying the nation is benefiting.
The scholarship is provided making use of the diplomatic relations of the nation with other countries and covered from government's coffer. In both ways, the government covers the necessary cost, according to him.
Sharing his idea, Terefe Belay, Higher Education Teachers Development senior expert at the Ministry mentioned that a study must be conducted to verify whether those who were sent for further education have benefited the nation or not. But it was learned that ,here in Ethiopia, it was not easy for them to exercise the knowledge they had acquired abroad. He stated that, yet most of the returnees were able to stamp their footprints on the nation's push forward. In addition, they were capable enough to support the nation in various path-breaking aspects.
On a different view, Dr. Meseret Asseffa, Curriculum and Instruction Department Associate Professor at the Addis Ababa University (AAU), expressed that the scholarship program has not been run under schedule or regular program. Thus, it has been a bottleneck for the nation not to reap benefits as per the number of students it has been sending for scholarship.
Terefe Belay on his side argues that the nation is not being disadvantageous as the scholarship is very limited and provided on selected fields of study. Even if the tuition fee differs depending on the cost the universities charge, the nation pays some 7880 USD per a person. He stressed that the outlay does not bring tangible changes on its development. However, each person should ask him/herself what the nation had offered him, what is expected of him/her and what s/he must do for the nation in return.
Meteku Berecha added that though people who have studied overseas are expected to apply their knowledge, there are some challenges that draw them back from doing so. One of such problems is health issue. Similarly, not few citizens do not get back to their home country after they completed their education, among others. He said the aforementioned challenges have been an obstacle for the country in not garnering as much as the challenge it undergoes.
Dr. Meseret argued that when citizens return sent abroad, they are not clear with specific job description. In addition, as a push factor, convenient work environment, clear direction and follow up are not provided. Mostly, they are deployed at not the right posts to practice what they have been learned. Similarly, they are paid the same salary they have been paid before they went abroad. These and other things make them less happy.
As citizens who have studied overseas apply their knowledge on various studies, researches, social participation and solve cropping up problems, various activities and situations are being facilitated for them, said Terefe Belay.
Meteku Berecha on his side mentioned that Ministry of Education is working to solve the problems that can be tackled at its level. He further indicated that the Ministry is suing people who did not get back to the nation .
According to Terefe and Meteku, the problem is not a big challenge and it would not continue a hurdle down the road,for the country is building ample universities and minimizing the number of citizens it sends overseas for further education. Moreover, the lecturers would be researchers and could solve problems.
On the other hand, Dr. Meseret stressed that if the problem is not addressed soon, the nation's literate people could end up migrating to other countries. Therefore, the scholarship activity must be handled with a thorough plan.