Haramaya University in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education hosted a national curriculum review workshop on Agriculture and related undergraduate Programs. The workshop was held as per Covide-19 protocol at Haramaya University Health and Medical Science College in Harar on April 13 and 14, 2021.
Professor Mengistu Urge, vice president of academic affairs, said that the freshman courses were reviewed last year as per the newly arranged higher education program (12+4) and it is on function now. Professor Mengistu added that the second year Agriculture and other 13 related undergraduate Program courses are now being reviewed by well experienced instructors, researchers, and other stakeholders in the area.
According to Professor Menigstu, the objective of the workshop is to review and validate the newly developed curriculum with the previous one. The newly developed curriculum is designed to synchronize the theory and practice, to equip students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitude so that it will increase the competitiveness of the graduates in their area to add values in the country’s agricultural development program.
Dr. Zelalem Bekeko, the dean of college of Agriculture and environmental science, in his turn, said that, in this curriculum review workshop, all stakeholders from different sectors were invited and presented their ideas. As Dr. Zelalem said, the curriculum review is needed to harmonize the courses when the academic year increases from 12+3 to 12+4 and to include some necessary subjects and valuable points. He also added that, after the validation of the courses curriculum, it will be distributed to other Universities to make it functional, and this, in its turn, will reduce the course variations from University to University in similar courses.
According to Dr. Zelalem, in order to improve the agricultural sector, the trainees should be trained by a timely and well-designed curriculum which can equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills in their discipline just like the curriculum being reviewed.
At the workshop, Mr. Mekonen Tadesse, programs and curriculum senior expert from the ministry of science and higher education, said, “The designed curriculum should answer the employers and industries’ needs.” As a result, the industry owners should be invited to participate in the curriculum review and give their feedback about the designed curriculum in respect to their needs as they know how the graduates are competent enough in their area of study.
Mr. Besufekad H/Mariyam, the other higher education program and curriculum directorate expert from ministry of Science and Higher Education, strengthened Mr. Mekonen’s idea by stating that there are over 250 undergraduate programs in Ethiopia and the previous programs have been being reviewed in all Universities since last year, and it is already on function.
Mr. Besufekad added that the recent second year course curriculum review has been done virtually for a long time and the last curriculum validation review has been prepared for face to face review with employers and it helps to collect witnesses, comments and suggestions from all stakeholders. Similarly, the other (out of Agriculture and related fields) course curriculums will be reviewed in seven different centers (seven Universities) in April, 2021 as per Covid-19 protocols. Curriculum review of Agriculture and other related fields, business and Economics, Health, Engineering, Water related fields, and Social science are being hosted and will be hosted by Haramaya University, Addis Ababa University, Gonder University, Bahirdar and Debremarkos Universities, Arbaminch University, and Dila University respectively..
Dr. Solomon Abate, from Ethiopian Agricultural Research Center, said that he has observed that the modular system in plant science (his field of study) before has now changed to a semester based teaching system, and some new courses have been added. Dr. Solomon interestingly added that he hopes that the new curriculum will bring changes on the trainees’ knowledge, skills and attitude if it is implemented in an appropriate manner.
Dr. Mehamed Worku, plant science program instructor and researcher from Jima University and Dr. Herut Yerga Animal and Range Science school head from Haramaya University said that the reviewed curriculum is very good, well organized and timely. They further stated that if the necessary facilities are fulfilled to implement it, it will contribute a lot to the country’s agricultural development program.
Overall, eight agricultural and five agricultural-related undergraduate curriculums were reviewed in a national curriculum revision workshop hosted by Haremaya University in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
By: Aweke Ayalneh
Public and International Relations Directorate