Ethiopia: Technological Supports to Private Higher Education Institutions for a Modern Information System

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 the education sector is one of the victims of it. Following this, the Ethiopian government is toiling on various educational applications to support and sustain the education sector.

The Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) recently issued a guideline for the HERQA's information management system to update the system prepared by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology with the support and cooperation of the Institute of Technology and Innovation.

The HERQA announced that intensive work is underway to support and update the system of private higher education institutions. The HERQA recently launched an automated application and online education guide in collaboration with the Institute of Innovation and Technology.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Minister of Science and Higher Education, Prof. Hirut W / Mariam, said that work is underway to support and update the system of private higher education institutions.

"Up-to-date, transparent and accurate information will enable you to make effective decisions and carry out your institutional mission." For this, she said that an information management system is needed to provide quality information to provide up-to-date information and feedback. She said the lack of a modern information system would open the door to illegality.

She further explained that the online education directive will expand access to higher education and will be conducted online from admission to graduation. It is said that the directive was prepared by the agency, approved by the board and implemented with the input of the ministry.

There is no fully-fledged online education directive in Ethiopia, but it is said that from now on, an institution that meets all the requirements of the directive will be able to conduct full higher education online. It will also create a conducive environment for private higher education institutions to renew and issue their accreditation online. During the graduation ceremony, the Minister of Innovation and Technology, Dr. Abraham Belay, said that the free use of the application to modernize higher education and connect technology is of great economic importance. He said his ministry is working with various institutions to follow the national vision to build an inclusive economic community with the aim of expanding technology-supported practices.

The Ministry of Innovation and Technology stated that the main objective is to expand digital litigation and is committed to working with higher education institutions in this field.

Dr. Andualem Admase, Director General of Higher Education Relevance and Agency, on his part said that the application will enable all private higher education institutions in the country to hold the information of the graduates. And it helps to monitor those who are currently in school.

Dr. Andualem added that there are more than one million students in more than 250 private institutions at the moment, but there is a problem in disclosing the number of graduates and it is possible to prevent such distortions by using the app.

While schools are closed as a result of the spread of coronavirus, many countries have turned to distance learning as a means of mitigating for lost time in continuing education services. To this end, some countries are simply putting educational resources on their website, and making available more products, but not necessarily conducting online classes.

Others, like Spain, are asking teachers to prepare online content and offer online classes. Infrastructure and familiarity with the tools seem to be driving successes (and challenges) of delivering learning. China for example, with robust connectivity, is offering distance learning successfully whereas others with limited penetration of internet, cell phone, or television (e.g. Vietnam, Mongolia) are finding it difficult to reach all students equally. In addition, many countries have challenges in ensuring that education services are equally accessible for employees/students with disabilities.

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