The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Save the Children and Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced $2 million in new institutional capacity development support to Ethiopian higher education institutions through USAID's Building the Potential of Youth Activity (POTENTIAL); a five-year project implemented by Save the Children.
The support will address some of the existing gaps between the skillsets of university students and the demands of the job market they will face after graduation. The initiative will partner with Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Jigjiga, Jimma, Mekelle and Semera universities to equip graduates with the skills necessary to pursue and land appropriate job opportunities. The capacity building will focus on high-order thinking skills, positive self-concepts, self-control and social skills to strengthen graduates' employability. The activity will facilitate learning exchanges between universities at the national level as well as cross (inter) institutional peer exchanges while also developing a digital platform to link employers with educational institutes.
The six partner universities will in turn, create partnerships with Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions (TVET) in their geographic regions to address skills mismatches, improve graduates' employability and create partnerships with the private sector and potential employers. Brandeis University from Massachusetts, USA will provide technical support during the implementation of this initiative in partnership with Save the Children.
At the launch, Sonjai Reynolds-Cooper, Director of USAID's Education and Youth office said, "We believe investing in education is one of the best investments we can all make - as this initiative will support Ethiopia's Journey to self-reliance in line with the country's education system reforms". Through this initiative, the partner universities and TVET colleges will be able to produce graduates with market relevant skills and experiences.
The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia and has invested more than $3.5 billion in development and humanitarian assistance over the past five years to help people across the country lead healthier and more prosperous lives. The United States has long been one of the leading investors in Ethiopia's education system and works with a range of partners to support the educational achievement of 15 million Ethiopian children.