University Students victims of ethnic politics?
Ethiopian university students in the eastern, southern and southwestern parts of the country are abandoning their university campus on grounds of government intervention in academic and “daily lives of students”, reported Ethiopian Satellite Television.
Among the things that the students are protesting is “peace forum” whose abolition from they university ground is demanded. Students think that the purpose of the forums is “to spy upon students”
Students of Alamaya University in South Eastern Ethiopia left their campuses today after their demands were not met by the university administration.
Following ethnic tensions in the university grounds in the region, the government deployed military force in the campuses as well which has become another contentious issue between government (the university administration) and students. Students are demanding unconditional withdrawal of military force from the campus grounds.
Students of Gambella University and Metu university joined students from Alemaya university in abandoning their university campus. With regards to Metu Univesity, which has seen sentiments of ethnic violence and confrontation between the university administration and students for a week now, Oromo regional government communication head claimed, on social media, that “teaching-learning process is resumed.”
Also, students from Bule Hora University in Southern Ethiopia abandoned their university campus over what students say is a government effort to orchestrate ethnic conflict, indicated the report by Ethiopian Satellite Television.
The oldest universities in Ethiopia are not even 100 years old. Once centers great intellectual discourse and centers of political mobilization of the cause of Ethiopia, quality of university education in Ethiopia has become a disaster. With that, social and political consciousness dwindled.
For many young people, who are born and brought up after the current regime took power in 1991, ethnic politics has become a measure of political consciousness and revolutionary character.
Socialization within university campus grounds tends to be ethnically based. It is not uncommon to find students in a dormitory entirely from a single ethnic group, to find students in a cafeteria table entirely from the same ethnic group and what not. In fact, language has become a barrier to communicate one another – all products of the existing over propagated ethnic ideology.
In consequence, Ethiopian universities began to see deadly ethnic violence. Many argue about government complicity in ethnic violence in university grounds which they see, as mentioned above, deliberate orchestration to instigate one ethnic group over the other (specially Oromo against Amhara or the vise versa) which is not untrue but the ideology itself actively promoted politicized ethnic division for decades.
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