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The Root Cause of Poor Quality of Education in Ethiopia: an Elephant in the Room

Ewunetu Yineger
August 31,2018


Since the introduction of modern education in Ethiopia, Ethiopians have recognized the need to improve the quality of education. Ethiopians have never been, however, as concerned about the poor quality of education in Ethiopia as today. The cycle of poor quality education and its ripple effects are looming dangers for Ethiopia. The problem is systemic and mainly intentionally induced. Addressing this issue should be one of the top priorities for Ethiopians and those international organizations funding the education sector in Ethiopia. The crux of this analysis is to identify the root cause of the poor quality of education.

Quality of Education

One cannot talk about quality of education without taking into account the ultimate and legitimate stakeholders of education and the problem that the education system is established to solve. The stakeholders are those for whom the education sector is established to serve. Quality of education refers to the level of satisfaction of the stakeholders with the education provided. A quality of a product or service differs depending on the customers’ or stakeholders’ needs or demands. Schools and colleges can be seen as service providers. The quality goal is about why we do what we are supposed to be doing. Therefore, it is the value added as a result of learning which creates satisfaction of the ultimate stakeholders or meets their needs or expectations.

It is widely believed, in principle, that an education system in any country is designed to serve the learners, the parents of the students, the employers of the school graduates, the public at large, and eventually the nation. The benefits of quality education also transcend national boundaries and help to make our world a better and peaceful place. The teachers, faculty, administrators, and staff also have a stake in the quality of education, as they are the major role players, to enhance the quality of education. The ultimate goal is why we need education, or what are the changes of condition we want to achieve through education. In Ethiopia, however, there is deliberate mismatch between the needs of the stakeholders and what the government is accomplishing through the public education.

Quality of Education to the EPRDF Regime

In the Ethiopian context, most of schools, colleges, and universities are funded and operated by the government. The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) dictates how the school and university systems should be organized and administered.

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Editor’s note : The writer first published the article on his own blog sometime in 2015. He wanted to share it again so as to join the conversation as it is being discussed again. He could be reached at :

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  1. I am sorry but I really would like to know what the writer meant when he said, “The problem is systemic and mainly intentionally induced”. Please elaborate on how it is intentionally induced.


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