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Ethiopian Universities no longer able to provide students with three meals a day for $0.40 budget 

Ethiopian Universities _ Ethiopian news
Wachomo is one of the Ethiopian Universities that is impacted by the budgetary crisis. (Photo : Wachamo University)

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Toronto – Ethiopia’s chronic financial crisis is manifesting itself across many institutions of higher learning in the country. Several universities are now reporting that they are no longer able to provide students with three meals a day under the daily financial allocation of 22 Ethiopian birr ( $0.40 cents). 

The challenge they are facing is not just that the allocation is meager but also food prices keep increasing. 

Wazema Radio this week cited several university authorities Gondar and Wolkite as saying they are facing the challenge of feeding a student three meals a day with the 22 birr daily budget. 

The authorities see the possibility that students could be vulnerable to starvation, based on the Wazema report. 

Yidagnu Mandefro, Gondar University’s Public Relations Head, is cited as saying that they are shifting budgets allocated for other expenses. It would have been impossible for the University to feed students without doing so.

He added that the University is struggling to feed students.  He says it is not possible to feed students with a 22 birr a day budget. He also noted that it is unthinkable that the university will be able to feed the new students it is accepting in September for the entire academic year. The maximum it can feed is for three months only, it was said.  It is indicated that the University is also impacted by the conflict in the region. 

Wolkite University – in South Ethiopia – is the same story.  Fasil Delil, the president, said the university is consuming budgetary allocations from other streams as feeding students on a 22 birr daily budget became impossible. 

The president is cited as saying that the government is aware of the difficulties that universities are facing.  There have been meetings with the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has reportedly collected information about daily food expenses of the Universities. 

The university says that at least 120 Ethiopian birr should be allocated per day for frugal spending. 

The president hoped that the government would respond to the budget issue in connection with students’ daily food expenses.  The cost of not doing that could be risky for the government as students could go on strike which could aggravate the already existing political crisis in the country.

Bahir Dar, Wachamo, Wolaita Sodo, and Jimma Universities are among those severely impacted by the budgetary situation.  

There have been signs of a choking financial crisis in the country. The government, for example, has been unable to pay salaries for public servants for several months in the Wolaita Sodo zone of South Ethiopia Regional State. 

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