Assessing Education Quality in Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions

A Survey at Mekelle University, Adi-Haki Campus

Master's Thesis, 2012

106 Pages, Grade: MA


Table of Contents









1.1. Background of the Study
1.2. Statement of the Problem
1.3. Objectives of the Study
1.3.1. General Objective
1.3.2. Specific Objectives
1.4. Research Questions
1.5. Significance of the Study
1.6. Scope and Limitation of the study
1.7. Organization of the Papers
1.8. Operational Definitions of Related Terms

2.1. An Overview of Higher Education
2.1.1. Research and Center of Excellence in Higher Education Institutions
2.2. The Concept of Quality in Higher Education Institutions
2.2.1 Quality as Exceptional (Excellence)
2.2.1 Quality as Perfection;
2.2.2 Quality as Fitness for Purpose;
2.2.4 Quality as Value for Money;
2.2.5 Quality as Transformational
2.3. The Nexus between Quality and Standard
2.4. Quality Control in Higher Education Institutions
2.5. Quality Assurance in Higher Education Institutions
2.6. Accreditation Practices in Higher Education Institutions
2.7. Objectives of Higher Education
2.8. Quality Dimensions in Higher Education Institutions
2.9. Quality Models in Higher Education
2.9.1. IPO (Input-Process-Output) Model of Quality in Education
2.9.2. Total Quality Management Model (TQM) of Education Quality
2.10. Measuring Quality of Education
2.11. Indicators of Educational Quality
2.12. Analytical framework

3.1 An Overview of Higher Education in Ethiopia
3.2 Objectives of Higher Education in Ethiopia
3.3 Higher Education and Development in Ethiopia
3.4 Research in Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions
3.5 Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions

4.1. Description of the Study Area and Site Selection
4.2. Data Type and Source
4.3. Research Strategy and Design
4.4. Sampling techniques and Procedures
4.4.1. Determination of Sample Size
4.5. Data Collection and Instruments
4.5.1. Questionnaires
4.5.2. Interview
4.5.3. Observation
4.5.4. Document Analysis
4.6. Data Processing and Analysis

5.1 Teachers Response about Quality of Education
5.1.1 Characteristics of respondents
5.1.2 The Input Mechanisms of Instructors on Education Quality
5.1.3 The Process Factors of Education Quality
5.1.4 The Role of Quality Assurance Office for Education Quality
5.2 Students Response about Quality of Education
5.2.1 The Input Mechanisms of Quality Education
5.2.2 The Process Factors of Education Quality
5.2.3 The Role of Quality Assurance Office for Education Quality






Appendix- D


I, Mebrahtom Guesh, hereby declare that the thesis work entitled “Assessing education quality in Ethiopian higher education institutions” submitted by me in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of degree of Master of Art in Development Studies to the College of Business and Economics, Mekelle University through the department of Management, is original work carried out by myself. The matter embodied in this thesis work has not been submitted earlier for award of any degree or diploma to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


This is to certify that Mr. Mebrahtom Guesh has been a bona fide student of master of Developmental studies in the department of management, college of Business and Economics (CBE), Mekelle University, Mekelle since September 2010.

With regard to the thesis entitled “Assessing education quality in Ethiopian higher education institutions” submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of MA in Developmental Studies to the College of Business and Economics, Mekelle University

through the Department of Management, done by Mr. G., ID.No.

CBE/PR014/03 is an authentic work carried out by him under my Guidance. The matter embodied in this proposal has not been submitted earlier for award of any degree or Diploma to the best of my knowledge and belief, and all materials used for the thesis have been properly acknowledged.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Education has received increased attention by the current government of Ethiopia in the recent years because it is believed to be a long term determinant of sustainable development. To this extent, the importance of educating people to ensure a country‟s continuous competitiveness and sustainable development is unquestionable. Because expanding and reforming higher education and research in a country will contribute significantly to alleviate problems such as suffering from relatively slow social and political progress, and becoming increasingly marginalized from the world economy. The purpose of this study was to examine education quality of input and process factors more emphasis on college resources and infrastructural perspectives, and the role of Quality assurance in ensuring Quality education in Mekelle University particularly in Adi-Haki campus. In line with the research questions and objectives, both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection have been used for this study. To find out the research questions, survey has been conducted with two questionnaires for teachers and students (121 students and 56 academic staff members) of the selected colleges. Beside this, four individuals i.e. Academic V/president of Mekelle university and Quality Assurance Head Offices of the selected three colleges has been interviewed to support the data which is collected through Quantitative way. After collecting data and information and analyzing it has found that educational quality of the selected colleges are not providing quality of education and the reason is that lack of motivation, inadequate e-learning materials, poor salary and allowance package, pitiable research inputs and outputs, shortage of financial and lack of managerial capacity, availability of corruption, political intervention, less educational qualification of Instructors i.e. below the required minimum standard to give instruction at degree level and difficulty of conducting the teaching-learning process effectively because most of them were not acquainted with the concept of pedagogy are among the constraints which were deduced by the resp ondents. Additionally, students‟ satisfaction level is low on campus facilities, library and internet facilities, and academic competency of their instructors.

Key words: Higher Education, Education Quality, Quality Assurance, Input-Process-Output Model, and TQM


I would like to provide my heartfelt gratitude to my principal Advisor Bihon Kassa (PhD Candidate) who supports, advises and critically evaluating the paper and friendly approaches.

My appreciation also goes to my co-advisor Ato Kibret Desalegn (MBA) for his valuable support, constructive comments, suggestions and advices in coordination with the principal advisor and independently.

In addition, my gratitude also goes to my best friends Yonas Bayru, Berihu Asgele and Kahsu Bolled who contributed me ideas and necessary materials which are important for the robustness of the paper.

Last but not least, I would like to thank my data sources such as instructors, students, Academic V/president of the University and Quality Assurance Head offices of the selected colleges for giving me adequate information and the willingness they have shown to help me. In addition, it goes to those who give me valuable comments and making my campus stay enjoyable one.

Mebrahtom Guesh

Abbreviations and Acronyms

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List of Table

Table 4.1: Respondents and their proportional sampling to determine sample size

Table 5.1: Characteristics of Instructors by Qualification, Teaching Experiences and their colleges

Table 5.2: Existing College Quality is enough for Ensuring Education Quality

Table 5.3: Responses to the Extent to Which Staff Requirement System are Accomplished

Table 5.4: Responses with regard to Incentives and Financial Reward for Extra-Ordinary performers

Table 5.5: Responses with regard to course curriculum, availability teaching materials

Table 5.6: Responses with regard to pedagogy and research projects

Table 5.7: the of Availability of Educational Facilities and Infrastructures

Table 5.8; Responses with regard to the average class size

Table 5.9; Responses with regard to salary and allowance package

Table 5.10: Responses with regard to staff promotion system

Table 5.11: Responses of instructors on the Quality assurance, quality education and responsibility of QA?

Table 5.12; Responses with regard to academic infrastructures

Table 5.13: Feedback of students related to Campus and Library facilities

Table 5.14: Responses Regard to Competency of Academic Staffs Rated by Students

Table 5.15: Responses Regard to Teaching Methodology

Table 5.16: Responses Regard to Assessment mechanism

Table 5.17: Responses Regard to Evaluation Criteria by the Students for their Instructors

List of figures

Figure 1: indicators of education quality

Figure 2: framework for analysis


1.1. Background of the Study

The accurate meaning of education quality and the pathway to improvement of quality are often left odd. According to Chapman and Adams (2002), education quality apparently may refers to inputs (numbers of teachers, amount of teacher training, number of textbooks), processes (amount of direct instructional time, extent of active learning), outputs (test scores, graduation rates), and outcomes (performance in subsequent employment). From the above point of view, it is understandable that improving the competence of the people through education and training enables them to take advantage of other resources effectively and efficiently so as to ease absolute poverty, reduce joblessness, accelerate economic growth and so on.

Furthermore, education is one of the key determinant features to guarantee development and improvements in human wellbeing. Above and beyond, as widespread economic competition grows sharper, education becomes an important source of competitive advantage, closely linked to economic growth, and a way for countries to attract jobs and investment (Cairncross et al, 2001). So, still education appears to be one of the key determinants of lifetime earnings. Consequently, Countries therefore normally see raising educational attainment as a way of tackling poverty and deprivation (Ibid). Subsequently, it is quite sure that education is widely accepted as a leading instrument for promoting economic growth and generally enhancing development in the world.

Globally, human capital formation is receiving increased attention from policy makers and scholars interested in promoting economic development: and improving education quality is as one of the highest national priorities (Akkari, 2004). It would seem that, a worldwide agreement is forming that direct attention of policymakers and involved international agencies should be focused on designing and implementing policies, programs, and actions to improve education quality and make concern for future development.

According to Akkari (2004) again, Education is a critical element of human development and an essential ingredient for fulfilling other aspects of human rights, such as effective economic and political participation and so on. This indicates that, human capital is one of the essential and the main actor of development because as many scholars agree on that without the ample and qualitative human power in terms of both health and knowledge and skill aspect, it is difficult if not impossible to take advantage of other means of production such as capital and natural resources profitably.

When we see developing states especially in Sub-Saharan African states; tertiary education improves technological catch-up and, in doing so, help to maximize and achieve its greatest possible economic growth given current constraints and: it may also accelerate technological diffusion, which would decrease knowledge gaps and help reduce poverty in the region (Bloom, et al, 2006). Standing from this perspective, HEI becomes an essential complement to educational efforts at other levels as well as to national initiatives to make better innovation and performance across economic sectors (Ibid).

According to Bloom et al (2006) the provision of relevant skills to the labor market; a capacity to understand and use global knowledge in science and technology, particularly for agriculture; a capability to assess existing information and generate new understanding through research; and a much closer working relationship with the productive sectors of the economy. In short, to mean that a more balanced and strategic approach to human capital development is required an effort to improve the prospects for economic growth in developing states especially like African states.

For Africa where growth is essential and if the continent is to climb out of poverty, education is particularly important (Bloom, 2005). Accordingly, all countries of the world particularly for Africa education must be accepted as a process of conveying the cultural inheritance that stabilizes the present and improving or changing the future but according to many writers access to education in Africa is limited.

According to Amare (1991) cited in Girma (2010) argued that modernization in Ethiopia was started at the time of Emperor Menillik II in the second half of the 19th century but took the form of discarding traditionalism and change without continuity. To this extent, prior to 1950 the Ethiopian students were sent abroad on government scholarships to higher education institutions in Europe, North America and the Middle East and latter pressure from secondary education graduates starting in the early 20th century and the needs for skilled man power compelled the establishment of a higher education system in the country (Ibid).

Access to higher education in Ethiopia has been restricted to very few public higher education institutions until the launching of Education and Training Policy in 1994 (Brhanu, 2009) but today numerous public higher education institutions are operating and playing the role of complementing the public higher education institutions.

About Mekelle University

Mekelle University is a governmental-funded higher institution with an international standing for teaching and research and with collaborative understanding with national and international sister institutions. Since its establishment, it has proved to be one of the fastest growing universities in Ethiopia. The fundamental elements of the university‟s mission are teaching, research, and consultancy. Thus, its ultimate goal is to pursue standards of excellence in teaching and research for the betterment of the society. As obtained from the university‟s website, the University offers academic programs within its 7 colleges, 6 institutes and many centers and the Education is student-centered and competency based. Students are stimulated to develop into independently minded people who are capable of thinking analytically there by ensure education quality.

Additionally, since its merger of the two colleges (Agricultural and Business colleges) in 1999, Mekelle University has gained both a national and international recognitions and at present MU hosts more than 23,000 students that are enrolled in the regular, continuing education programme, summer, evening, distance education and in-service programs.

In Adi-haki campus there are three (3) colleges and their mission is not unique with the above discussed points because the campus doesn‟t have an autonomous power; it is part of the University. Generally speaking, the university mission is to ensure educational quality and to become a center of excellence and nationally and internationally competitive.

1.2. Statement of the Problem

According to Teshome (2005) the higher education institution is a center for knowledge and skills creation, adaptation and dissemination and that plays a significant role in providing relevant and quality community and public services. To this extent, Higher education is therefore vital for economic evolution, political solidarity and calm, as well as housing democratic culture and creating cohesive societies. To enhance the above points, higher education institutions clearly need well-designed academic programs and mission. For most important to their success, however, it needs qualified staff, devoted and well-informed students, and adequate resources.

But it is true that the human resources of a nation and not its capital or natural resources that ultimately determine the speed of its economic and social development. So, the principal institutional mechanism for developing human capital is the formal education system of primary, secondary, and tertiary training (Akkari, 2004). But according to World Banks (2004) on human capital report reveals that these elements are missed in most developing states especially in SubSaharan Africa.

Furthermore, according to Chapman and Adams (2002), the quality of tertiary education in most Developing countries ranges from world-class universities to institutions that are ill housed, inadequately staffed, and have few institutional resources to support instruction and so on. In line with Association of African Universities Strategic Plan (2003) also exposes as:

“..One of the major problems of African education is not as most thinkuniversality; rather it is quality which is the problem. So, Africa needs thinkers, scientists, researchers, real educators: who can potentially contribute to societal development of the continent; most donors define African education success in terms of how many students are being graduated and how many students are in school. The quantity issue is of course one thing that should be addressed, but it shouldn‟t be the whole mark of any education intervention in Africa. How an African resource could be better utilized by an African child for an African development should be the issue….”

From the above point of view we can understand that African Universities are diverse in nature.

But Association of African Universities (2003) in their Strategic Plan pointed out that despite this diversity and with notable exceptions, most of them are characterized by the following:

- High potential and claim from key stakeholders, not matched by proportionate resource support;
- A small number of universities per country;
- Low enrolment ratios at all levels, despite an enrolment explosion in the last 20 years that has stretched institutional facilities and capacities to breaking point;
- Low tertiary education expenditure per person, but very high relative to gross national product (GNP) per capita;
- Poor infrastructure, especially in relation to information and communication technologies, and consequent weak links among African HEIs on one hand, and with the global knowledge system, on the other;
- Ageing college , lack of incentives to attract younger staff and continued brain drain;
- Inadequate financial and logistical support from governments;
- Weak linkage between academia and the social and productive sectors of the economy; and
- Weak linkage with and provision of support to national and continental organizations.

For example, Chetsenge (2010) stated that Midland State University of Zimbabwe has had human and physical resource gaps. Accordingly, Chetsenge also stated that the human and physical resources gaps which were available and negatively affecting education quality in the institution were the following:

- Lack of adequate staff, and high staff turnover resulting in heavy workloads for staff in place.
- The Staff salaries and conditions of services and general for extraordinary incentives are low.
- Lack of research funding has resulted in a decrease in research output in the institution.
- Lack of staff development like pedagogical training and short time trainings.
- Absence of quality control mechanisms. For example, absence of autonomous bodies to control quality of education.
- Shortage of qualified staffs i.e. which are not supported by research and pedagogical trainings etc.

Moreover, the physical resource gaps which were seen in the University are the following (Ibid):

- Lack of office furniture and equipment for staff offices.
- Lack of teaching materials like insufficiency of classes and halls.
- Shortage of books, internet services i.e. ICT network are limited.
- No access to electronic journals with most up-to-date research.
- Lack of staff and students accommodation and etc.

In line with the above Chetsenge (2010) findings the researcher assessed the above gaps which are still untouched in the Adi-Haki campus. Therefore, the investigator is likely to fill these gaps.

1.3. Objectives of the Study

1.3.1. General Objective

The general objective of this study is to assess Education Quality in mekelle university; AdiHaki campus.

1.3.2. Specific Objectives

More specifically, the objectives of the research are:

1. To assess the input mechanisms of quality of education in Adi-Haki campus.
2. To explore the teaching-learning process mechanisms of Mekelle University predominantly in Adi-Haki campus.
3. To examine the role of quality assurance office for education quality in Adi-Haki campus.

1.4. Research Questions

With the view of the above objectives and statement of the problem; the paper was assessed education quality in Mekelle University particularly in Adi-Haki campus and the following major questions are answered in the analysis part of the thesis:

1. To what extent are the needs of inputs available to enhance education quality in Adi-Haki campus?
2. What are the elements that affect the teaching-learning process in Mekelle University; Adi Haki campus?
3. What is the role of Quality Assurance Office in ensuring education quality in the selected colleges?

1.5. Significance of the Study

According to Porter (1990) the performance of higher education is very critical for the competitiveness of nations. Therefore, achieving successful change in higher education is extremely important and assessing educational quality and identifying the success factors at University is highly important.

Accordingly, the findings of the study will serve for the following major practical significances:

A. This research may help to know the strength and weakness of the campus on education quality.
B. It may serve as an additional information source and document base in the process of managing institution of Mekelle University especially for Adi-Haki campus.
C. It may contribute to the efforts made to build up the quality of education for Ethiopian higher education institutions.
D. It may guide the academic staffs and other in charge stakeholders to weigh up the accessibility of curricular materials and the implementation of teaching-learning process. As well, it will help them as a road map to design effective strategies that enable them to ensure education quality.
E. It may motivate public institutions to deliver their higher education institutions with learning resources to maintain adequate quality of education, and
F. It may encourage other researchers to carry out further research on this area and to address those areas that remain untouched.

1.6. Scope and Limitation of the study

Even though keeping a high-quality and ample status of quality of education is a challenging task in many Ethiopian public higher institutions; to make the study manageable, the scope of this study were geographically limited only to Mekelle University in three colleges of Adi-Haki campus (Colleges of Business and Economics, Social Sciences and Language, and Law and Governance only). Additionally, the paper only assessed the quality of education in Mekelle University.

Likewise, the starting point for understanding quality in any process is to recognize the inputsprocess-outputs model (Tony, 2011). In this model, variation in the quality of the inputs creates variations and rework in the work process and results in variation of the outputs (Ibid).

As discussed in the above paragraph, education quality depends on various issues. In this study the input and process factors especially college resources and infrastructure as independent variables to explain the dependent variable on Quality of Education have been taken. Again infrastructure and college resources perspective also are related to a lot of issues. In the college perspective, academic background, promotion prospects and benefits they are enjoying, teaching quality and research activities were carefully examined in the selected colleges.

And in infrastructure perspective: campus activities, classroom, and library and internet facilities were assessed. For analyzing these issues the investigator used input and process indicators that are internationally recognized. The researcher is interested in the area and title owning to conveniences and the experiences he have. The research used both qualitative and quantitative method and it is cross-sectional type of research.

The major limitation of this study is, as the investigator pointed out in the above paragraph, the major elements of input and process factors were assessed but not output factors because of the lack of experience of the researcher, time and financial constraints. This means, due to time limitation for further research, graduates acceptability in the job market are not assessed. The study is emphasis only on regular undergraduate students of the selected colleges therefore this can be one among the limitation.

1.7. Organization of the Papers

This study contains a total of five chapters. Chapter one focuses on introductory aspects, whereby Background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives, Research Questions, Significance of the study, scope and limitation, Organization of the paper and Operational Definitions of Related Terms. Chapter two present the literature review, which served as a basis for understanding the subject matter. Chapter three of this thesis deals with the higher education institution to the Ethiopian context. Chapter four presents the methodological part that helps to guide the study. Chapter five deals with results and discussions of the data obtained from the selected respondents and second hand materials. The last but not the least part, chapter five provides concise conclusions along with possible recommendation.

Finally list of reference materials used for conducting the study, sample questionnaire, interview, and observation check lists are annexed at the end of the paper.

1.8. Operational Definitions of Related Terms

1. Higher Education: - A tertiary level of education which is known by colleges, university colleges and universities.
2. Indicators: - Tools/measures those are used to assess a quality characteristic or the achievement of quality objectives and that also used for comparisons.
3. Inputs: - refer to prior requirements such as qualification of teaching staff, background of learners, educational facilities, etc.
4. Institution: - means a public or private higher education institution.
5. Outputs: - refer to the employability of graduates and their academic standings.
6. Processes: - refer to matter of the teaching-learning processes which embrace methods of teaching, assessment, leadership quality, etc.
7. Public institution: -means an institution whose budget is allocated by the Federal or State Government.
8. Quality Assessment: - is the process of evaluating teaching, learning and out comes so as to judge if the institution meets the generally accepted quality and standards.
9. Quality:- is the level of excellence in performance which can be measured by establishing an acceptable criteria and standards of good performance
10. Standards: - are criteria by which institutions are judged and evaluated for programs.

Standards, also called benchmarks or criteria, are carefully specified and measurable outcome indicators and tend to be used for purposes of comparison either between institutions or against an ideal standard.


2.1. An Overview of Higher Education

According to Öppinger-Walchshofer (2009) higher education is a sub-sector of a country‟s educational system in which development cooperation can be carried out to contribute to capacity development and thereby helps for poverty reduction in a given society or country. This means, in HEIs human capital is assumed to be an engine for developmental motivation of citizens of the state. Additionally, it refers to the tertiary education sector and mainly to courses of study that prepare students for scientific and research-oriented careers, as well as careers that call for a high level of professional qualifications (Ibid).

Moreover, Mishra (2006) provides that; there are four predominant concepts of higher education: o Higher education as production of qualified human resources. This means students are products as a labor market.

- Higher education as training for research career i.e. it is preparation for qualified scientists and researchers.
- Higher education as efficient management of teaching provision and strongly believed that teaching the core of educational institutions i.e. efficient management of teaching learning process.
- Higher education as matter of extending life chances. This means, it is seen as an opportunity to participate in development process of the individuals through a flexible, continuing education mode.

Consequently, Higher Education is the fundamental driver of the knowledge economy. So, a well-educated and skilled labor force is essential for creating, sharing, disseminating and using knowledge effectively. Besides, education is expected to build up an educated labor force, where people are able to continuously upgrade and adapt their skills to create and use knowledge efficiently (Damtew, 2010).

Furthermore, all sub-sectors of the education system i.e. primary, secondary, tertiary and lifelong learning need to work in harmony to drive a knowledge-based economy as regards the connection between capacity development and higher education, and it should be noted that capacity development is an umbrella concept that relates to the elaboration of international development cooperation activities (Öppinger-Walchshofer, 2009).

As many writers and articles indicated, Higher education has overriding importance for economic and social development. So, inculcating relevant knowledge and advanced skills in HEI provides the human resources required for leadership, management, business and professional positions (Teshome, 2003). To this extent, in all countries of the world education is accepted as a process of spreading the cultural heritage, stabilizing the present and improving or changing the future (Ibid).

Moreover, scholars in the area of higher education made many attempts to define higher education. To make it clear, Higher education is defined as an advanced level of education beyond a full course of secondary education incorporating vocational schools, specialized training institutions, Preparatory schools and formal programs that prepare individuals for careers in colleges and universities (Knowles 1977; Cited in Girma 2010).

From the above point of view; higher education seen as: an innovative way of new providers, including private for-profit institutions, which has coincided with the relaxation of state regulation in a number of countries over the recognition of degree-granting institutions (Naidoo, 2007). This is the reason why, the present era is characterized by a historical move towards mass higher education that intends to secure place for students of having different socio-economic backgrounds.

Higher education is generally classified into public and private sectors. As it known that, they differ from each other by ownership, source of fund, management and kind of students‟ enrolled. When we take Public institutions, they are especially owned, managed and funded by the state but private higher education institutions are profit oriented and owned by individuals or shareholders. But since my collegesis governmental institution the private ones are excluded.

A higher education in worldwide doesn‟t have equal capacity to grow because it determines the economy of the state i.e. the states having huge economy more reliable the universities have. For example, Higher education institutions in Africa face numerous challenges, which are currently hindering their contribution to the knowledge domain. These include limited funding, leadership and governance, the brain drain, poor working and living environments, lack of resources, HIV/Aids and globalization (Damtew, 2010).

So, strong institutional leadership is required for African universities to become committed to relevant and innovative knowledge production, acquisition and dissemination. This includes offering a bold vision of the institution‟s mission and goals, with clearly articulated strategic plans that can translate the vision into concrete targets and programmes (Salmi 2009).

2.1.1. Research and Center of Excellence in Higher Education Institutions

Knowledge based competition within globalizing economy is promoting a fresh consideration of the role of higher education in development and growth. This means, research is ahead of put into practice. Although much is now known about conditions and factors that build and sustain quality education, education policies and practice are too rarely informed by the insights research can bring.

Besides, research is as the most important source of knowledge generation, occupies a critical position in promoting nations prosperity and its citizens‟ well-being in the knowledge based period.

According to African Universities Association (2003) report, Research on Sub-Saharan African universities in particular and the region in general is still at the budding stage However, there are improvements in some researchers which started to conduct on the organization, course structure, curriculum, planning, student enrollment and employment prospects for Sub-Saharan African university graduates (Ibid).

The World Bank study is among the pioneer studies in this area. Sub-Saharan African states can emulate that example and conduct more studies, which have some relevance to their specific universities. It may not only, in the jargon of the World Bank Report, "foster expansion," but it can also enhance adjustment, revitalization and expansion (Ibid).

The above points can show as, amalgamate teaching and research in HEIs is an important issue as it opens opportunities for discussion among instructors, students and other stakeholders. Currently, there is little or no research work on integrating research and teaching in HEI s in Ethiopia (Desalegn, 2006, cited in Girma, 2010). However, HEIs are distinct social organizations characterized by the coexistence of the linkage of these core mandates which is essential for social, economic and cultural development (Girma, 2010).

In developing states educational quality is in the left path and the reason is Poor governance and inadequate statutory frameworks make universities more vulnerable to corrupt practices (Öppinger-Walchshofer, 2009). In a corrupt educational system, students learn that money rather than merit paves the way to academic success, rather than specialized knowledge and competencies that will enable students to contribute meaningfully to their country‟s social and economic advancement (Ibid). This can hamper the educational excellence of the states.

Generally, according to Komia Domatob (2011), Sub-Saharan African universities perform various roles especially apart from their acknowledged mission of manpower training for these emerging states; these Universities also serve a developmental role. In Sub-Saharan African states, universities are envisaged as tools which can help out these emerging countries cope with the challenges of poverty, disease, ignorance, malnutrition, hunger and destitution (Ibid). This contribution is resulted by having human capital. So, these efforts can be continued if there are fruitful research outcomes. However, in many African Universities they do not eye mark research as main target for Development (Ibid).

All in all, Higher education and scientific research can promote and achieve development on various levels and can play a key role in mobilizing and providing resources.

2.2. The Concept of Quality in Higher Education Institutions

The concept of quality is not well defined in higher education (Cheng and Tam, 1997). Not only the above writers but most of them argues that, understanding the concept of quality in education system has proved to be a challenging task. At the broadest level Girma 2010, comprehended quality of education as; a set of elements that constitute the inputs, processes and outputs of the educational system, and provide services that completely satisfy both internal and external strategic constituencies by meeting their explicit and implicit expectations. This means, quality is a subjective concept that is hard to define and depends on what one thinks is the priority issues that deserve attention to making it quality education.

Additionally, defining Quality in Education recognizes five dimensions of quality: learners, environments, content, processes and outcomes, founded on „the rights of the whole, to survival, protection, development and participation (Teshome, 2005). In addition to this, UNICEF has defined educational quality in terms of 5 dimensions (Reddy, 2007):

- Learners who are healthy and well nourished;
- Environments that are safe / protective / gender sensitive with adequate resources;
- Content that is reflected in the relevant curriculum and materials for the acquisition of basic skills;
- Processes through which trained teachers use student-centered teaching approaches in well managed classrooms; and
- Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes

According to Reddy (2007), most people view quality of education as the learning outcomes of students, which is the primary concern of all stakeholders. But to achieve the desired quality, the antecedents, that is the inputs and process should also have quality in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, excellence and sound justice (Ibid).

Nowadays, nobody questions about the importance of quality: so that assuring and enhancing quality of teaching and learning in higher education is currently of the major concern in developed and developing states. This is the reason that different writers gave poles apart classification for education quality. According to (Harvey and Green1993, cited in Ferera, 2010) argues that quality education has five connotations:

2.2.1 Quality as Exceptional (Excellence)

As excellence, quality is perceived as something distinctive or special, something that cannot be attained by many: i.e. there is uniqueness.

2.2.1 Quality as Perfection;

As perfection, quality relates closely to the notion of „zero defect‟ commonly employed in industrial settings, where the physical products of a production chain have to meet the exact specifications of the desired product, in its perfect form, without any defects.

From an educational point of view, this definition may be problematic for two main reasons. First, the product of an educational process is multifaceted, and usually has some unforeseeable and unpredicted but desirable attributes.

Second, it is impossible to define a „perfect‟ or „zero defect‟ graduate of an educational process. This is because from an epistemological point of view; no knowledge is perfect, no matter how superior it may be. The perfection concept of quality is, however, useful for ridding Higher Education Institutions of the obvious defects that challenge learning, such as poor design of learning materials, poor assessment processes and lack of well-planned learner support.

2.2.2 Quality as Fitness for Purpose;

As fitness for purpose, quality is conceived in relation to institutional set targets/goals. It allows an institution to demonstrate the achievement of its objectives according to the purpose of its mission. Thus, the „fitness for purpose‟ notion means different institutions can benchmark their quality differently depending on their level of development and their overall context. The fitness for purpose definition of quality is a developmental approach to quality, and this aspect is particularly significant for higher institutions. The product remains a quality product by maintaining its value to the customer. The assumption here is that the quality of institutional delivery is not static; rather, it is dynamic as it responds to changes in the environment.

2.2.4 Quality as Value for Money;

As value for money, quality is viewed in terms of returns on investment. The value-for-money conception of quality is client sensitive as quality is judged according to the extent to which the client is satisfied with the services offered.

Furthermore, institutions that subscribe to this notion of quality extensively involve professional bodies and the employers of graduates to specify their requirements and to accredit their programmes. As education becomes more and more responsive to market demands, providers of open schooling will increasingly be called upon to be accountable to their key stakeholders.

2.2.5 Quality as Transformational

Here, quality has pedagogical implications, and refers to how much the learning process transforms the learner. Quality in this case is defined in terms of the „value added‟ in the learner, and learner assessment seeks to establish the amount of such value added. The amount of value added is not tangible and its quantification is problematic, yet this is central to determining the worth of any schooling system.

In the most literatures, among the five dimensions of quality, the “fitness for purpose” is more focused in defining quality and standards.

Additionally, Reddy (2007) identified the following common usages of quality that are given by educators:

A. Quality as reputation: - this refers to a general agreement of high and low quality, normally used with position to institutions of higher education, because for the other sections of education is difficult to develop it. The basis for reputation often includes information of inputs and outputs.


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Assessing Education Quality in Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions
A Survey at Mekelle University, Adi-Haki Campus
Mekelle University
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assessing, education, quality, ethiopian, higher, institutions, survey, mekelle, university, adi-haki, campus
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Mebrahtom Guesh (Author), 2012, Assessing Education Quality in Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • guest on 7/26/2016

    Dear, Mebrahtom i am yikeber simahew and i am masters student at Debre Markos University in Etiopia , i read you paper so, your paper was a nice paper. however now am done research paper based on similar with your title so, pls help me , you attahch as reference material and research your full reserarh questions by my email adress. i tnak you ,,,,,,,

  • Mebrahtom Guesh on 6/11/2015

    I am very much happy to see my thesis is published. i will send you an article on the coming week again.

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