ISBN 9789994450206
Pages 544
Dimensions 244 x 170 mm
Published 2008
Publisher Forum for Social Studies, Ethiopia
Format Paperback

Academic Freedom in Ethiopia

Perspectives of Teaching Personal

edited by Taye Assefa

Following the removal of the Derg regime from power in 1991, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) swept to power with the promise of restoring peace, tackling the country's chronic poverty, and democratizing the political system. Among the social sectors, Education received the highest attention. The recognition of knowledge as a driving force of economic growth and social development has been evident in the Federal Government's subscription to the EFA and MDG initiatives and in its concerted efforts to reform the educational system. In March 2004, the Ministry set up a Higher Education Systems Overhaul Committee of Inquiry (referred to as the HESO Team) "to examine and analyze the leadership, governance and management of the higher education sector and to suggest ways that the higher education system should be overhauled to enable it to better meet the development needs of Ethiopia" (HESO 2004). The HESO Team's inquiry focused on issues of governance, management and leadership, but not much on academic freedom, nor did it indicate to what extent it is enjoyed by members of the academic community, or what specific reforms are needed to facilitate the full exercise of this fundamental right.

Cognizant of this situation, the Forum for Social Studies (FSS) launched, in mid-2006, a research project titled "The Status of Governance, Academic Freedom, and Teaching Personnel in Ethiopian Higher Education". FSS took UNESCO's "Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel" as an international standard-making instrument that could serve as a benchmark for reviewing the situation prevailing in Ethiopian higher education institutions. Within this parameter, the main objective of the FSS research project was to identify the regulatory framework, institutional arrangements and established practices pertaining to governance, academic freedom and conditions of service of higher-education teaching personnel and assess these in terms of their compliance with the relevant principles and norms enshrined in the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation. Based on case studies of major higher education institutions, the project also sought to generate reliable and timely information that would enhance public awareness and facilitate informed policy intervention to improve the situation.

A total of seven major public universities and four private colleges were selected for the institutional case studies. Altogether, over 555 teaching personnel and 2,110 students participated in the case studies and this publication presents the findings of all the case studies and three of the conference papers. The investigation in the case studies has sought to generate data on the perceptions of students regarding the exercise of academic freedom and the teaching-learning process, but this was mainly to provide a comparative perspective. The primary focus of the study has been on the status and perceptions of the teaching personnal.

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