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Current Issues in Educational Development in Selected African Countries:

A Comparative and International Education Perspective

Ghelawdewos Araia

October 13, 2014

This article intends to critically examine the state of educational developments in Botswana and South Africa from Southern Africa; Ethiopia and Tanzania from East Africa; Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone from West Africa; and Egypt and Morocco from North Africa. The methodology employed throughout the text of this article is the comparative and international education perspective, but the latter, as some people assume, is not simply about comparisons and contrasts. It goes deeper rather in exploring the educational theory and practice in international context, delves into the purposes of schooling, educational access and opportunities, accountability, as well as professionalism and quality education. The methodology also involves demographic attributes, geographical and economic realities, as well as political and cultural factors.

This paper studies current educational development in Africa in the context of the four cardinal geographical locations in the Continent, and as Noah W. Sobe and Jamie A. Kowalcyzyk aptly put it, “A more recent schema for approaching context on comparative education scholarship comes from Mark Bray and R. Murray Thomas (1995) who have proposed a three dimensional cube for thinking about the location or site of any comprehensive education study. One axis is geographical and proposes that research might focus on world regions, countries, provinces, districts, as well as the “locational” levels of schools.”1 

Bray and Thomas also propose two more axes, namely demographic factors and ethnicity and substantive issues associated with the two axes, but for the purpose of this paper, I will focus on regional educational development and the mission and objectives of the latter and the strategies of development that the countries under study should take in order to realize a successful educational-cum-development enterprise, which, in turn, would catapult the African nations as “equal” members in the global economy.

Most importantly, Sobe and Kowalcyzyk, further argue, “the act of contextualization is essential in the field of comparative education, and it means treating contexts as a matter of concerns while focusing our research attention on the educational assemblages that compose and govern our present and future worlds.”2   

I am in full accord with Sobe and Kowalcyzyk and I will treat contexts as a matter of concern while exploring and dissecting the educational development of the selected African countries mentioned above. The comparative methodology that I will employ in this article will essentially incorporate the following important themes: policy context, the goal to increase enrollment, the goal to increase and expand tertiary education, improving quality of education, the role of educational associations and institutions, the role of research projects, the linkages of higher education and economic development, and distribution of higher institutions of learning.

The above topics will be thematically highlighted in relation to current issues in educational development in the selected countries. However, instead of simply analyzing country profiles one by one, I have rather opted for theme-based comparative analysis of the many facets of educational development in all the countries.

With respect to educational development, for instance, we can first examine that of Botswana and contextually compare it to the selected countries: “The tertiary education policy of 2008 outlines a series of policy recommendations for higher education in the country. Amongst others, this policy seeks to support the creation of a single integrated and differentiated tertiary education system.”3 

Similarly, post-Apartheid South Africa wanted to implement policy of “action research for the twenty first century” in order to “exploring educational pathways,” according to studies made by the South African Journal of Higher Education (SAJHE) 4  

Compared to Botswana and South Africa, Ghana also wants to develop its tertiary education in a similar fashion, but what makes Ghana different is the fact that its policy is more comprehensive rather than focused on one or two sectors of the educational system: “The National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) was established in 1993 to advice the Ministry of Education on all matters related to the development of tertiary education.”5

In a similar vein to Ghana, “The Government of Tanzania has deployed a series of strategies to ensure the adequate and more concerted development of both higher education and TVET sub-sectors, to supply the economy with increasing number of skilled and knowledgeable professionals it needs to sustain its growth.”6 The Tanzanian educational policy, with emphasis on knowledge-based economy, is adopted by almost all African countries, including the selected countries, and almost all of them have now given priority to producing skilled professionals through their respective technical and vocational education and training (TVET). The graduates from the latter institutions will, in turn, run the economy effectively in an effort to boost the various sectors of the national development projects.

In regards to education policy, in the last decade and half, Ethiopia launched a more comprehensive educational strategy aimed at expanding elementary, secondary, vocational and technical colleges, while at the same time augmenting higher institutions of learning in all the regional states that make up Ethiopia. In point of fact, as I have discussed it in my book by making reference to Teshome Yizengaw, one time vice minister of higher education of Ethiopia, I noted that Ethiopia “has stressed issues of quality and relevance in educational progress; quality of teaching staff and facilities; improvement of management leadership; introduction of financial diversification, including income generation and cost-sharing by students; and improvement in the system of evaluation, monitoring, autonomy and accountability.”7

Almost all the themes that I have mentioned earlier as the main discussion points for this paper are conceptually fulfilled by Ethiopia. However, on translating those educational agendas into concrete action could be a major challenge for the country. Higher institutions of learning in Ethiopia continue to encounter dearth of qualified faculty and they also face budget constraints, and as a result some universities are unable to own the necessary instructional technologies, and the majority of college entry students cannot afford to share the cost of schooling.

Sierra Leone, a country that was bedeviled by a decade-long civil war, euphemistically known as Blood Diamond, has made a come back and is trying to catch up in educational development with other African countries that have shown progress in both educational and economic developments. The country’s current policy in formal and non-formal education (mainly distance learning) is focused on “provisioning quality, relevant and equitable learning opportunities for all is the policy thrust and overarching objective of education in Sierra Leone. The importance of education as the key to human development is recognized in all of the nation’s social and economic development policies and practices.”8   Sierra Leone is a small country that could countenance all the challenges that Ethiopia and other African countries encounter, not to mention the present Ebola menace, which could be a major distraction from otherwise sound educational and economic development policies. 

Regarding cross-border education, which has now become fashionable globally, Sierra Leone, in cooperation with Ghana, has implemented “a commonwealth youth program diploma course in Youth Development Work through distance education,”9 while at the same time it sought the training of its educational leadership by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) 10

Nigeria, the biggest and wealthiest in West Africa, is pioneer in educational development amongst the ECOWAS African nations, and its policy of education (reformed several times since 1977), which reflects the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the UNESCO ‘Education for All’ (EFA) motto, is by far comprehensive compared to the selected African countries, and for that matter to all other nations in the Continent. “Nigeria’s educational aims and objectives for all levels of education are: a) the inculcation of national consciousness and national unity; b) the inculcation of correct values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society; and c) training for understanding the world around.” 11

The third Nigerian educational objective insinuates that Nigeria is in tune with current globalization and it looks that the Nigerian leadership, at least in theory, is determined to keep up with the nature and characteristics of globalization in order to be competent and successful in the global arena. Whether Africans will fail, prevail, or successfully forge “equal” partnerships with the industrial North remains to be seen, and I will discuss this conundrum at the end of the paper and continue with educational policy and other parameters for now.

Following the national educational objective, “one of the Nigerian Vision 20: 2020 is to improve the nation’s prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and creating employment in a sustainable manner. In order to achieve the long-term broad objectives, on [sic/one] of the challenges is for the nation to raise the quality and standard of education to international comparative levels. Every Nigerian child must have opportunity to acquire quality education, in an environment conducive to learning. The strategy to be employed will include redesigning the curricula to sooth the labour market demand and benchmarking of the quality of education standards with global standards.”12

I have earlier stated that Nigeria was a pioneer in education, and in point of fact, in 1998, in one of my articles entitled Nigeria: The Troubled Giant of Africa (African Link, Vol. 6, No. 4, 1998), I have extended credit to Nigeria for establishing several universities, colleges, and polytechnics in just a decade and half following independence in 1960 when it had only one university for the entire nation.

Following the 2010 reform and education policy, however, some critics observe the shortcomings, drawbacks, and lethargy in Nigeria’s educational development, and for the sake of comparative analysis and also to have a balanced view and perspective, I hereby present the criticism leveled against Nigeria’s educational system, with particular focus on higher education, professional capacity, and research. Based on the Methodological Workshop on the Development Impact of Higher Education in Africa held in Dakar, Senegal, in September 2005, Llyod Amaghionyediwe and Tokundo Simbo-Wale Osinubi contend, “Although it is Africa’s largest country with 20% of the region’s population, Nigeria has only 15 scientists and engineers engaged in research and development per million persons. This compares with 168 in Brazil, 459 in China, 158 in India, and 4,103 in the United States (World Bank, 2002).”13      

The above comparison of Nigeria with other countries, however, is sketchy at best and paradigmatically wrong at worst. Nigeria should not be simply compared to the United States and China, which are respectively first and second economies in the world. It should not be compared to emerging economies such as Brazil and India either, and it is for the following reasons: 1) Nigeria’s population, though the biggest in Africa, is much smaller than all the respective countries mentioned for the purpose of comparison; 2) population remains an elusive methodological tool, akin of a neo-Malthusian vice, unless it is critically examined in the context of overall economic development and favorable or unfavorable global reality to Africa as a whole; 3) the industrial base of Nigeria is much smaller compared to all the sampled nations for comparison, although the country has a great potential to catch up if it overcomes corruption and adopts correct development policies and strategies.  

The educational policy of Senegal, like most of African nations that we have discussed thus far, is aimed at improving the quality of higher education, and “project activities will include the establishment of training opportunities, preparation of a guide for foreign students, research on existing mechanisms in Quality Assurance as well as assessment of the employment needs of the private sector.”14    

 The Senegalese education project was financed by UNESCO and was presented as a workshop by its Regional Office for Education in Africa on March 2012. Sponsors of the workshop include the Directorate General of Higher Education (DGES) and the universities institution of Public Higher Education (EPES), and the National Authority of Quality Assurance (ANAQ). Moreover, the conference of the workshop was co-sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Office – Deutscher Akademischer Austauscdienst (DAAD). The latter played the same role that the Indira Gandhi Open University played in Sierra Leone, and it is also involved in Hawassa University in Southern Ethiopia.

The role of European and American universities in the development of African education is not novice. It is true for all African countries that their educational policies were influenced, shaped, and formulated by European and American policymakers before and after African nations gained independence. Ethiopia, though never colonized, had a brunt of education policy superimposition by foreign experts. The University College of Addis Ababa (now Addis Ababa University), when founded in 1950, was led and administered by predominantly Jesuit scholars and educators, including the Canadian Dr. Lucien Matte. Soon after, the university was affiliated with the University of London. And until the early 1970s, these academics would serve as professors, deans, and presidents, but Ethiopians gradually replaced them when the university ushered an Ethiopianization program, with deliberate policy to run the university by Ethiopians. 

Thus, the present influx of universities from all over the world as partners in research in the 31 universities of Ethiopia, is a combination of the previous universities involvement as sponsors and administrators.15    

Egypt is the home of Al-Azhar, the first university founded in Africa in 988 CE, i.e. during the Fatimid Dynasty. However, the development of higher education in Egypt was ushered in the post Nasser-led Free Officers revolution of 1952, but a decade will elapse until the Nasser regime initiated a policy of higher education with an objective to open up higher institutions of learning.

Nevertheless, like in most African countries, the Egyptian universities were understaffed, lacked facilities, and low wages forced professors to teach in more than one university.16 This problem may sound a unique Egyptian and/or African problem, but it very much affects the thousands of American universities, save the Ivy Leagues, and I know it first hand because the City University of New York (CUNY), where I teach, is run by a majority of adjunct faculty rather than tenured or full-time professors and as a result the University suffers from a permanent low quality education.

In response to the drawbacks, Egypt, like most African countries that realized the shortcomings, and in some instances failures of the educational system, initiated a reform in education in order to overcome “narrow access and limited opportunities for students; poor quality of educational inputs and processes; deficiencies and imbalances in graduate output relative to job market requirements; and underdeveloped university research capability for the national innovation systems.”17  

Unlike other African countries that underplay or even hide the real issues associated with problems in education that bewitch higher institutions of learning, or on the contrary ‘cry wolf’ or raise a false alarm, Egypt addressed the problem candidly and openly, and it is only through this kind of transparency that nations can come up with genuine diagnosis and subsequently formulate correct educational policies.

Moreover, Egypt had to undertake reform policies in education because it “has to improve competitiveness in a global knowledge-based economy where other countries were intensifying investments in human capital and knowledge production. It also need to provide ‘appropriately’ for a larger and more diversified student population, and reduce social inequalities arising from differences in educational opportunities.”18 

Morocco is the only country in North Africa that is currently not a member of the African Union (following the Western Sahara crisis), but also not affected by the 2011 peoples uprisings that changed the political landscape of Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. The neighboring country Algeria did not encounter an uprising either, but it had undergone several Jihad conflicts and is not as stable as Morocco.

Ironically, however, despite the long and rich history and stability, Morocco was unable to boast well-established higher institutions of learning, except for the Mohammed V University that was established in 1957 and the Rabat International University that was founded in 2010. All in all, there are indeed 14 higher institutions of learning in Morocco but they are not comparable to the ones that are in Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, and the rest of the selected countries universities. This is surprising, because Morocco should have been the repository of the legacy of the Moors who civilized Spain (711-1492), who ventured into Europe from Morocco, and following the Spanish Inquisition returned to Africa via Morocco.

In any event, as in most African countries, “higher education in Morocco…is placed under the authority of the Ministry of Higher Education, Management Training and Scientific Research, and educates senior and middle managers over 3, 5, or 8 years after graduation of baccalaureate.”19 Also, like most African countries, Morocco has realized the significance of information communication technology (ICT) to enhance its educational system.

“The Moroccan government has realized,” says Amr Hamdy, “as a positive contributor to the Information Society, Article 10 of the National Charter of Education and Training of 1999 is focused on the integration of ICT in education and supports the acquisition of computing facilities at schools along with the promotion of distance education and learning. Several programmes and initiatives, led and supported by the government, are taking place in the context of long-term strategy that is intended to cover all education sectors and regions to ensure equal opportunities for all citizens.”20    

On the contrary, as Majid Mardour argues, “The situation of Moroccan education is unsatisfactory. In spite of many reforms since 1956, there is no tangible change as had been expected by Moroccans. The failure of our educational reform is due to many variables that can either be linked to students, curriculum design, policymakers or parents.”21

All the above selected African countries, in one form or another, have geared their educational policies for the consumption of global donors, UN agencies such as UNESCO, UNDP, UNIDO, and UNICEF etc. For instance, when these countries state, “equal access to education”, it could mean accommodation of the have-nots as well as girls and women in the educational sector, but the ultimate objective is to echo the Education for All (EFA) motto of UNESCO. By the same token, when they emphasize ‘quality education’ and/or ‘ICT’ as component parts of their policy, they are sending messages to UNESCO, UNDP, UNIDO, and philanthropists who fund educational programs. 

However, the educational policies of these countries may not be always implemented. Some of these nations could fully realize some of the educational programs; others may partially implement their educational projects as planned and enshrined in their policies; and yet others may not at all fulfill educational agendas that were drafted on paper with excellent coherence. The reason for the failure of some countries in their inability to translate their policies into action is because respective Ministries of Education or the national and local governments in these countries that preside over education matters are more interested in raising funds rather than fostering quality education.

Quality education should be synonymous with qualified teachers and professors, and the level of development that can relatively satisfy instructional technologies such as computers, laboratory equipments, textbook, Blackboard Systems, Plasma TV broadcast, and Power Points as part of the overall curriculum. But, in the absence of qualified experts to effectively use the instructional technologies that could at the same impart knowledge and empower students, the technologies would become ghost technical entities.

Most of the universities in the selected countries suffer from dearth of qualified instructors, and as a result quality education also suffers ignominiously. There are even some institutions of learning that have been shut down due to lack of funds and qualified teachers. A case in point is the Mekelle Institute of Technology (MIT) in Tigray Regional State of Ethiopia. When first established, MIT exhibited promises of producing professional wizards in technology but at one point it was unable to manage itself due to financial hardship, and the Federal Government had to step in to support the Institute but the latter increasingly deteriorated that it finally gave in and was incorporated as part of Mekelle University, and it is now known as Ethiopian Institute of Technology – Mekelle (EiTM).

While Ethiopia did very well in terms of even distribution of colleges and universities in the nine Regional States and this measure was also coupled by the creation of plethora of other educational institutions and associations that cushion the Ethiopian educational system as a whole, the challenge of quality education is going to stay for a long time to come. On top of lack of funds and consequently shortage of instruction technologies, the Ethiopian political landscape is marred by patron-client relationship, in which case political cadres, predominantly staff the bureaucracies including the Ministry of Education, rather than educated professionals. Insofar the cadre, most of who are not educated, serve as watchdogs behind educators, the entire educational edifice would lack a solid foundation, and may even stagnate and crumble in some instances.

Even distribution of educational institutions could reasonably overcome the inequity that had previously prevailed in most African countries, but along with distribution it is also important to seriously consider zoning in education. Zoning is best exemplified by Senegal, in which “the director of higher education has drafted an ambitious plan to create ten regional university centers, each focused on a local strength on industry. For example, agriculture and tourism in the North, and mining and industry in Tambacounda and Kaolack.”22    

In regards to even distribution of education facilities and for that matter economic development areas, in an effort to address the Ethiopian problem, I have coined the concept of appropriate development zones (ADZ), and this is how I put it in my most recent book: “Learning from China and from its own experience, Ethiopia could overcome the problems of even distribution by devising what I like to call appropriate development zones (ADZ), in which the respective regional states could effectively exploit their resources. For instance, the Tigray Regional State most likely could be a perfect ADZ for industry, mining, and tourism, while the Amhara, Oromia, and Southern States could develop via agriculture and industry. While eco-tourism is most suitable for Southern and Southwestern Ethiopia, conventional tourism is quite obviously tenable for the Tigray, Gonder, and Wollo (Lalibela) areas.”23

Surrounding research in general and scientific research in particular, some universities in South Africa have done well, but universities in Nigeria may have gone backwards in this respect. “On the research side, Nigerian number of scientific publications for 1995 was 771, significantly less than it’s out of 1,062 scientific publications in 1981 by a comparatively much smaller university system.”24

Across the board in the African continent at present, and more specifically in the selected countries for the purpose of this paper, emphasis on technical and vocational education has become the rule rather than the exception. Some countries like Tanzania, apart from TVET centers, also have supporting ministries and institutions such as the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) and the Vocational Education & Training Authority (VETA), which could play a pivotal role in fostering the knowledge-based economy and producing skilled manpower. In this regard, the country did very well because, “TVET education coverage in Tanzania is higher than other low-income countries” although inequity and quality education remain major challenges.25

While countries like Ghana boast higher institutions of learning such as Kwame Nkrumah University (formerly Kumasi College of Technology), and the University of Science and Technology, Ethiopia also amalgamated its Addis Ababa science and engineering colleges into one university, now known as Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. On top of this, Ethiopia has also opened up several TVET centers.26 Similarly, in an effort to catch up with other African countries, Sierra Leone also has established what it calls the National Council for Technical, Vocational, and other Academic Awards (NCTVA).

Going back to the external input in the higher institutions of learning of Africa, we ought to critically examine how well the African universities will be impacted by exogenous education systems and how they could fit into the globalization education framework, and consequently perform independently and compete in the global arena.

In spite of the remarkable success scored by the high performing Asian economies (Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore), the current status of China as the second economy in the world, and the emergence of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the global economy is still dominated by the industrial North of Western Europe and the United States. It is in light of this reality, thus, that we must examine the educational policy of the powerful Northern economies in contradistinction with the selected African countries.

With the exception of South Africa, which is a member of the BRICS, and which has a relatively robust industrial base, Nigeria, though oil rich and has the potential of becoming a viable economy in the global arena, is facing insurmountable political crisis attributed to toxic corruption and the Boko Haram terrorism; Egypt has just emerged from a three-year instability following the Tahrir Square people’s uprising; and the rest of the countries, save Ethiopia which has recently shown promising economic growth, are poor. In all probability, thus, the dependence of these countries on the donor rich countries will continue unabated.

In order to help us understand the globalization of educational policy, it is advisable to borrow Antoni Verger’s macro theoretical approaches, two of which are the ‘World Society’ theory and the ‘Globally Structured Educational Agenda’ (GSEA) theory.

Based on other sources and theoretical frameworks, Verger expounds the two paradigms as follows: “World Society argues that ‘education institution’, as we know it, has spread around the world as part of the diffusion of a culturally embedded model of the modern nation-state. (Meyer et al, 1997).”27 On the other hand, “GSEA sees the world capitalist economy as the driving force of globalization and the main causal source of the profound transformations manifested in education arena today (Dale, 2000). This approach stresses that most significant educational changes we witness today should be understood as being embedded within interdependent local, national and global political economy complexes. International financial organizations are key agents in this multi-scalar scenario due to their agenda setting capacities.”28      

The interesting paradigmatic analysis that Verger makes, of course, would make sense and help us galvanize the contradictions or policy clouts that the global convergence would have on our selected countries. However, beyond this complex education nexus between Euro-American (and to some extent Canadian and Australian) and African universities, it is important to understand the essence of diffusion theory.

Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory was first propounded by Professor Everett Rogers of the University of New Mexico, and the four categories he uses in reinforcing his theory are Innovation, Communication Channels, Time, and Social System. On top of these categories, Rogers contends that five stages (or component parts) are necessary in order to realize the DOI, and they are Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Trial, and Adoption. The ultimate objective of DOI, of course, is to make sure members of the larger society adopt new ideas, innovation, technology, or product through time. It is in this context that we must see how the higher institutions of learning of the selected African countries can adopt instructional technologies.

Based on Schiffman’s ‘Instructional System Design’, Daniel W. Surry, of the University of Southern Mississippi, discusses the role of the instructional technologists and adopters in relation to diffusion theory: “…instructional technology is inherently an innovation-based discipline. Many of the products produced by instructional technologists represent radical innovations in the form, organization, sequence, and delivery of instruction. An instructional technologist who understands the innovation process and theories of innovation diffusion will be more fully prepared to work effectively with clients and potential adopters.”29 

Like curriculum in its macro sense, instructional technology ranges from the use of chalk and blackboard for a face-to-face classroom setting to a virtual class communication via Blackboard Learning System or Power Point, the latest technologies that are now being used in major universities in the West and in several African countries. One of these cluster technologies is the satellite plasma TV that has been installed in Ethiopian secondary schools beginning 2004. I shall discuss the latter in the context of the Ethiopian initiative to reinforce quality education, but first I like to render some cursory definitions to these instructional technologies.

Blackboard Learning System is a virtual learning and course management system by which instructors can add online inputs to courses, which are otherwise delivered face-to-face; and it is also a system by which instructors can develop completely online courses in bypassing the traditional face-to-face learning system.

Power Points help instructors to communicate an idea to their audience (in most instances, their students). These technologies actually aid (in fact, teach) instructors how to present their ideas from a template; their presentations, in effect, are customized by the Power Point technology, because, the latter, among other things, also enable instructors to use other instructional technologies such as slides, video clips, and/or special effects in order to enhance their presentations.

The Satellite Plasma TV Broadcasting is essentially a system to augment the instructor’s role in the classroom while watching and monitoring along with the students in the classes. It is a very efficient tool in broadcasting subject matters to students and also can boost uniformity in curriculum across entire Ethiopia, but in all education what matters is effectiveness and not efficiency although the latter is also important especially for developing countries that are striving to catch up.

With respect to the Ethiopian Satellite Plasma TV Broadcasting, some scholars have produced some observations and studies and they came up with a critique of the system by offering us the pluses and minuses or advantages and disadvantages of this instructional technology. Two of these empirical studies are authored by 1) Getnet Demissie Bitew from Australia (2008), and 2) Kassahun Melesse et al from Ethiopia (2012).

According to Getnet, “One experience that is mentioned by eleven out fourteen Government school participants as a positive effect of the newly introduced “plasma” model of teaching is the development of the students’ English language listening skills. Three (out of four) teachers and four (out of six) students agreed that most of the students are now catching new words as a result of listening to them repeatedly from the “plasma” transmission.”30 

Getnet’s studies, made just four years after the Plasma TV were introduced into the Ethiopian schools, also confirms that most of the students’ time is spent in listening to the lecture series of the remote master teacher of Satellite TV. In a similar vein, two years ago, Kassahun and his colleagues have done a lengthy and superb fieldwork research on the new technology by providing the pros and cons to the system and how their target audience has also responded to the Plasma TV broadcasting system.

For the sake of clarity on the advantages and disadvantages of Satellite TV instructional technology in Ethiopia, and how teachers/students view this classroom virtual teacher vis-à-vis their interests, I have adopted Table 5 from the study made by Kassahun et al 31 and this is how they put it:

Aspects of Plasma Lesson


Aspects of Plasma Lesson



   No. of Respondents




It cannot replay back






It gives enough time to do the given class work  






It gives enough time to copy notes






It gives enough time for classroom teachers to help students to class works  






It gives enough time to do the given class works 






It gives chance for students to discuss in groups







It utilizes a variety of teaching aids





In both studies, what we see in common is that students listen much but don’t get the necessary help from their face-to-face teacher, and I am of the opinion that the Ethiopian schools may continue to use plasma TV instructions but the duration of class sessions have to be equally shared by the teacher, the students, and the TV teacher. Since the class sessions are 45 minutes for respective classes, the time should be adjusted as 15-15-15, that is, 15 minutes for students to watch the plasma TV; 15 minutes for the Teacher to explain, elaborate, and expound on what has been presented/taught by the plasma TV teacher; and 15 minutes for Q & A in which students will have the opportunity to ask questions and the teacher to answer routine questions. Classes should be interactive in order to fill the gap or clarify inexplicable concepts rendered by the TV instruction, and it is also advisable that the face-to-face teacher reviews previous sessions before the new plasma lecture begins in order to have a flow of discussion and also students weave the contents of subject matters in one quilt.

All the instructional technologies that we have mentioned above could be expensive and to some countries luxury items and not priorities at all, but they could enormously enhance the knowledge-based economy and also the integration of African countries into the global economy. Some of the African countries may not afford to install Ethiopian-style satellite TVs in their schools, but despite this hard fact all the universities in these countries, in fact, offer courses such as computer science, marketing, and cognitive psychology, which are the basis for ITC instructional technologies and the stages and component parts of diffusion theory that we have discussed above.

As I have indicated in my book, Democracy, Devolution of Power, & The Developmental State, universities from all over the world have now converged in Ethiopia and they are operating in respective campuses as research partners. International agencies such as USAID and SIDA are also involved in the grand venture of higher education and development, but in the final analysis educational development could become meaningful and successfully oriented toward economic transformation only when the respective African universities (and by default, the African nations) exhibit real independence, because dependent development, after all, is not development. It is for this apparent reason that I have argued in my book, “Ethiopia, thus, must create development-university-state nexus. In other words, the universities will reinvent their respective R & Ds by injecting venture capital unto their institutions in collaboration with the Government.”32 All African universities in the selected countries, and for that matter in all other nations of the continent must reinvent themselves and craftily incorporate the twin forces of educational development and knowledge-based economy in the corpus of their policies.



  1. Noah W. Sobe and Jamie A. Kowalczyk, Exploding the Cube: Revisioning “Context” in the Field of Comparative Education, Current Issues in Comparative Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, Vol. 16, Issue 1, Winter 2013
  2. Sobe and Kowalczyk, Ibid, p. 11
  3. SARUA: Southern African Regional Universities Association
  4. Southern African Journal of Higher Education (SAJHE), Vol. 8, Issue 2, 2014
  5. Widening Participation in Higher Education Ghana and Tanzania: Developing an Equity Scorecard, Working Paper for Higher Education: Setting the Scene  
  6. Tanzania Education Sector Analysis, Beyond Primary Education, the Quest for Balanced and Efficient Policy Choices for Human Development and Economic Growth, UNESCO, Dakar Regional Office, Dar es Salaam Cluster Office, SN/2012/ED/PL/1
  7. Ghelawdewos Araia, Democracy, Devolution of Power, and The Developmental State, Institute of Development and Education for Africa, 2013, p. 212
  8. A. M. Alghali, Edward D. A. Turay, Ekundayo J. D. Thomson, and Joseph B. A. Kandeh, Education in Sierra Leone, Feb 16-18, 2005
  9. A. M. Alghali et al, Ibid, p. 26
  10. A. M. Alghali et al, Ibid, p. 27
  11. UNESCO, World Data on Education, VII Ed. 2010/11
  12. UNESCO, Ibid
  13. Llyod Ahamefule Amaghionyediwe & Tokundo Simbo-Wale Osinubi, Ontario Inter-Development Agency (OIDA), Journal of International Development, Vol. 4, No. 9, pp. 85-120, 2012
  14. Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI)
  15. Ghelawdewos Araia, op cit, pp. 216-17
  16. Higher Education in Egypt Country Review Report
  17. Ashraf Khaled, Egypt: OECD Urges Sweeping Higher Education Reform, University World News, Issue No. 51, 11 April, 2010, p. 28
  18. Ashraf  Khaled, Ibid
  19. Centre Regional d’investissement
  20. Amr Hamdy, ICT in Education in Morocco, June 2017  
  21. Majid Mardour, Morocco World News, Rabat, May 28, 2013
  22. State_Univ.com
  23. Ghelawdewos Araia, op cit, p. 152
  24. Amaghionyediwe and Osinubi, op cit, p. 86
  25. See Tanzania: Education Sector Analysis
  26. See Ghelawdewos Araia, op cit, p. 207
  27. Antoni Verger, Why Do Policymakers Adopt Global Education Policies? Toward a Research Framework on the Varying Role of Ideas in Education Reform, Current Issues in Comparative Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, 16(2), 14-29, 2014
  28. Antoni Verger, Ibid
  29. Daniel W. Surry, Diffusion Theory and Instructional Technology, paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT), Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 12-15, 1997
  30. Getnet Demissie Bitew, Using Plasma TV Broadcasts in Ethiopian Secondary Schools, Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 2008, 24(2), 150-167
  31. Kassahun Melesse, Zelalem Teshome, Addis Simachew, Akalewold Eshete, Status of Ethiopian Satellite Television Broadcast Programs Implementation in Mathematics & Science from Teachers Perspective, Ethiopian Journal of Education and Science, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2012
  32. Ghelawdewos Araia, op cit, p. 217   


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Dr. Ghelawdewos Araia earned his doctorate in comparative and international education (International Studies) from the Division of Philosophy and the Social Sciences (now Intercultural and International Studies), Department of International Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1990. He is currently Professor of African Studies at Lehman College, City University of New York, and Professor of International Studies at Central Connecticut State University.