On 16 through 17 March 2018 the University of Gondar conducted the 5th Institutional Annual Conference on Quality of Education. This year’s theme: Quality Assurance System in Higher Education: its current Practice, Challenges and Prospects seeks to do a crucial thing for educational institutions. It will ensure that quality is upheld in educational institutions and, without a doubt, this is very important.
Those who were pivotal in the potent discussions were among others Dr. Desalegn Mengesha, UoG President, Dr. Tesfaye Muhye, Director General HERQA, Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn, UoG Academic Vice President, Prof. Mamo Muchie, Tshwane University, Prof. Zenabu Gebremariam, Hawassa University, Dr. Shimelis Tesfaye, Deliverology office and many others.
The University of Gondar has hosted the conference in the first 2 years of its inception (at the national level) about 7 years ago. After the first initial phase of the conference was complete, the University of Gondar thought it would be more productive to conduct its own annual institutional conference. And now 5 years later, UoG has hosted 5 consecutive quality of education events which is a leading example for other universities.
In his welcoming speech the Academic Vice President of the University of Gondar Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn expressed the need to further the cause of quality education because of its importance. “Quality of education was one of the most significant agenda topics for higher education sectors and was given serious attention in the 2nd Growth and Transformation Plan” he said. He stated that the plan to move from ‘expansion’ and to focus on ‘quality education’ was essential for the country to evolve and develop. Dr. Desalegn Mengesha, the President of the University of Gondar also echoed the same sentiments in his opening remarks.
The president felt it necessary to bring up past errors in education policy that were crippling and hindering because of the growing population. “As you may know,” he said, “from our country’s history, the number of schools and the ratio of students to the general population were disproportionate.” Most of Ethiopian schools were located in the main towns and cities and the rural population did not get the same advantages from the educational system said the President.
One thing that should be understood is that the number of universities in a country does not always predict future excellence though. Quality is something that should be taken seriously and implemented systematically. Developed nations have always encountered the harsh reality of fighting an uphill battle when it comes to this aspect and Ethiopia is no different.
The 2 day conference saw keynote speeches by Dr. Tesfaye Muheye, Prof. Mamo Muchie and Prof. Zenabu Gebremariam. The speakers in order spoke about the institutional aspects of Quality, Ethiopianism and the role of the English language in Ethiopian educational institutions.
More will have to be done though if countries in developing nations want to be mentioned among the ranks of such top nations as the United States, Great Britain and Singapore. This may seem unrealistic right now but it is possible if all University Stakeholders and units are committed to excellence. Additionally this annual conference was conceived for that specific reason.
On the final day of the conference there were parallel sessions on how the University of Gondar works in different departments, colleges, institutes and the likes. Measuring their past works with constructive criticism the various professionals tired their level best to show what needs to be done to enhance quality at UoG.
After the general discussions a deliberation was led by Dr. Asrat who was accompanied by Dr. Desalegn, Dr. Tesfaye and Prof. Mamo. When concluding the conference the President of the university took forwarded some insight into the way forward.
As the President of the University of Gondar, Dr. Desalegn made sure to assure the audience, who were all staff members and lecturers of the university, to abide by the strictest of standards to elevate the quality of the university by any means necessary.
Furthermore, the University of Gondar is on the right path by laying the groundwork for this proposed excellence. The deliverology efforts, the Education Quality Assurance and Audit Directorate, various colleges and many other institutional based entities are going to be vital in changing the status quo by upholding superiority and quality and rejecting the usual.
By Samuel Malede| Public & International Relations Directorate