Quality and Quality Assurance in Ethiopian Higher Education: Critical Issues and Practical Implications

Mulu Nega Kahsay

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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This book critically examines quality and quality assurance in the Ethiopian higher education context. More specifically, the main research problem that guided the study was: ‘how and under what circumstances do the public Universities in Ethiopia assure quality of their education, and what contextual factors influence their current quality assurance practices?’ Ethiopia is considered an interesting case based on the ground that it is one of the sub-Saharan African countries in which the higher education environment is characterized by rapid institutional and enrollment expansion. The study is grounded in the argument that student learning is at the center of the education mission of universities, and a quality assurance practice becomes effective when it focuses on the core educational processes and conditions that affect quality of student learning. A conceptual framework derived from the key concepts of contingency and institutional theories together with quality assurance models guided the study. We applied a mixed methods design in this research. This study found that quality of education is threatened by a number of problems, and many of the necessary conditions for quality assurance to function effectively are missing in Ethiopian universities. It is argued that establishing quality assurance aspirations, laws and regulatory bodies could not solve the quality problems in Ethiopia. The major challenge is not lack of laws, policies and structures, but rather the human element. The adoption and practice of quality assurance system at universities remains a slogan when the enabling conditions are not met. Implications of the study and suggestions for improved practices are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Enders, J., Supervisor
  • Westerheijden, D.F., Advisor
Award date20 Apr 2012
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3315-7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2012


  • IR-81391
  • METIS-288034


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