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Quality of Higher Education in Ethiopian Public Institutions
Ethiopia has seen a dramatic expansion of its higher education sector in the past decade, with growth in the number of public universities leaping from just two in 1991 to 22 in 2008 and expected to reach 33 possibly by the end of 2010. Likewise, there has also been an enrolment explosion, rising from an annual intake of nearly 5,000 into the regular university programs at the beginning of the 1990s and reaching 79,500 at the start of the 2008/9 academic year. Conversely, however, the results of the external quality audits recently conducted by the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) indicate that the available inputs and processes to maintain the quality of higher education have not been able to keep pace with the phenomenal rate of physical expansion and enrolment growth. On top of that, the Government has recently introduced a policy of 70:30 percent professional mix in annual enrollment, with 70% of intakes allocated into the Science and Technology streams and 30% into the Social Sciences and Humanities streams. The rationale behind this initiative is the belief that Science and Technology are the engines of development and that Ethiopia’s prospect for building a knowledge economy and propelling its economic growth hinges on the availability of a sufficient stock of national expertise in these fields, produced by its higher education institutions.