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Ethiopia: Outcry as Medicine school tells a disabled student to discontinue study 

Ethiopians are rallying behind Biniyam Isayas as Health Science Faculty of Addis Ababa University passes harsh decision on his pursuit of a program in medicine 

Biniyam Isayas _ Medicine _ AAU
Biniyam Isayas is told to discontinue his pursuit of studying medicine at AAU because of disability on the left hand which he has had since childhood. (Photo : Social Media )


Biniyam Isayas has been studying medicine at the College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University.  He has completed four years. 

As he was making progress towards the fifth year of the program, the College told him that he can not continue to study medicine. 

The decision has nothing to do with academic performance. In fact, Benyam is among the achieving students. 

It is rather because of his disability, which he has had since childhood. 

What many Ethiopians are asking – the matter has triggered an outcry among Ethiopians on social media – is why the Health Science faculty did not let Biniyam know that persons with disability can not join the medicine program? Why at the end of a successfully completed four years of the medical program? 

The Health Faculty admits that it was a mistake on its part that it did not communicate the matter when Biniyam made the choice to study Medicine.

The issue has been under discussion only for the past eight months.  “…Health College has eight undergraduate programs. And an agreement has been reached that Biniyam will have difficulty pursuing five of the programs including medicine,” is the decision. 

Curriculum and “International Technical Standard,” would not allow it, according to the faculty. 

Intravenous fluid management, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Delivery, ability to provide oxygen to patients, and stitch cuts are factors that the college is considering as obstacles for Biniyam to continue studying medicine. 

The college is offering three departments (pharmacy, Laboratory technician, or radiology department) or a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences.  None of them are attractive to Biniyam as his dream is to be a medical doctor. 

Ethiopians, based on conversations from multiple social media platforms, are behind Biniyam. And they are demanding that the College has to let Biniyam pursue his academic interest which leads him to his dream profession. 

Federation of Ethiopian Associations of Persons with Disabilities (FEAPD)  is another strong voice. It said, as reported by EBC, state media, Ethiopia is a signatory to The Convention For The Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was signed in New York in 2007. 

The Federation is saying that the convention protects the rights of persons with disabilities to study. In fact, institutions of higher learning are expected to create conducive conditions for students with disabilities. 

Also, the Federation is saying that the decision of the Faculty of Health Science of Addis Ababa University is against the law. And it is asking the college to reconsider its decision. 


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  1. Subject: “Ethiopia: Outcry as Medicine school tells a disabled student to discontinue study” July 12, 2022

    A word came to my mind when I read the Article …. “callous” on the part of the Officials.

    They should have taken ALL considerations on every angle before taking that decision.
    The FEELING of the student is paramount important than ANYTHING around the topic.
    The consideration of the matter should have been for the student, at all times

    Taking the broadest aspect in relation to the cruel decision, it is important to remember the civility, kindness, respect for human beings of ETHIOPIANS. Where did those characteristics vanish?


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