To meet the growing demand for trained workforce in the country, the Eritrean government hired 35 Kenyan University lectureres, Associate Professors and Professors. These expatriates have already arrived in the country and start their duty in the seven institutions of higher education.
Eritrean envoy to Kenya, Ambassador Beyene Russom, said his government picked Kenyans because the country has some of the best-trained manpower in the region.
On behalf of the Government of Eritrea, the National Board for Higher Education (NBHE) hired Magtech Inspiration Centre and Toolkit Institute to implement the recruitment process.
NBHE has an excellent working relation with some of Kenya’s top Universities. Under the 2012 cooperation agreement between NBHE and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), more than a dozen Eritreans are taking part in a PhD and Masters program for lecturers at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
Eritrea introduced a major reform to tertiary education from 2004 – 2010 to cater the rising demand for education and training of the youth in the country. As a result seven institutions of higher education have been established in different parts of the country.
The decenteralization and expansion of access to tertiary education, however, has generated its own challenges as the newly established colleges are confronted with expanding enrollment of students against a limited number of Eritrean teaching staff.
To prevent the risk of decline in the quality of education due to inadequate staffing and facilities, the Eritrean government mobilized a human resource development campaign to improve both the quality and capacity of the institutions. The program also includes hiring of expatriate instructors until the qualified national staffs completed their training and assume the teaching positions.
The seven colleges of higher education in Eritrea are:
1. Eritrea Institute of Technology, Mai Nefhi
2. Hamelmallo Agricultural College, Hamelmallo
3. College of Health Sciences, Asmara
4. Orotta School of Medicine and Dental Medicine, Asmara
5. College of Marine Sciences & Technology, Massawa
6. College of Business and Economics, Halhale
7. College of Arts and Social Sciences, Adi Keih
— Hizbawi Menghisteab (@HizbawiM) September 9, 2015
On the benefits of having almost seven colleges as opposed to a single university…
Dr. Tadesse Mehari: It is true Asmara University was the only university and it was progressing well, with about nine faculties (colleges) and some postgraduate courses. But its facilities were limited. We could only accept not more than 1200 students in a given year, and these were students who scored 2.4 and above in the matriculation.
Higher education was confined within Asmara but with the opening of seven new colleges in the 2004/2005 academic year, it was able to be distributed across the different regions in the country.
At present, we are accepting every year between 4000 – 5000 students for degree and diploma programs. This is four times more than the number of students that Asmara University used to accept. In terms of the overall number of students, we had almost 5000 students, including those in the Paradiso and Halhale campuses. Today we have about 13,000 – 14,000 students in all these colleges, which is almost threefold. Although we cannot say this is adequate, we have at least expanded the opportunities for higher education across the country.