January 17, 2018: Jimma University Center of Excellence in Education hosted a sensitization workshop with education stakeholders from Jimma Zone and Town. The workshop was organized to create a platform for stakeholders’ discussion on improving the quality of education and teacher training. Over 200 participants including Jimma University Senate members and instructors, Jimma Zone and Town Administrations, Educational Office heads, Instructors from Jimma College of Teacher Education, School Directors and Teachers participated on the forum.
The workshop was opened by Professor Fikre Lemessa, president of Jimma University. In his speech, the president addressed that the University has been selected by the Ministry of Education as one of the three Centers of Excellence in Education in the country, and given a national agenda of training qualified teachers that can impact on the quality of education in the country. He noted that the establishment of the center will enable the University to contribute significantly to the country’s critical need of competent and ethically armed teachers. The discussion with pertinent stakeholders, Professor Fikre emphasized, will make the University and the Excellence Center accomplish its mission of producing capable professionals of education for the country, and capacitate schools in Jimma Zone and Town through professional supports by selecting model schools.
Mr. Tadesse Regassa, the Dean of JU’s Center of Excellence in Education, then, enlightened the participants with the establishment of the center beginning from its selection process by the Ministry of Education. He indicated that Jimma University was selected as one of the three higher learning institutions in Ethiopia to serve as Center of Excellence in Education out of the 33 Universities involved in the competition. The center is given the key responsibility of spearheading improvements in the quality of education through engaging in training of qualified teachers and setting quality standards. Working on the training of teachers and school leadership is thought to receive emphasis in the undertakings of the center, and the 4 years Bachelor of Education teacher training programs started this year and which follow the Integrated approach training is said to be an initial step towards achieving the desired goal.
After the two presentations, the stakeholders deliberated on concerns pertinent to the quality of training for teacher educators currently in place which has led to the worsening condition of quality of education at national level. The speakers from the participants of the workshop welcomed the establishment of the Center of Excellence, and expressed that it should honestly and strategically work to genuinely change the current abysmal situation facing the quality of education atnationallevel. The participants also emphasized that the University through this center of excellence should diligently work with the stakeholders in Jimma Zone and Town to capacitate the schools and to significantly improve quality of education.
On the workshop, as part of its plan to work with education stakeholders in its surroundings, Jimma University signed Memorandum of Understanding with Jimma Zone Administration, Jimma Town Administration and Jimma College of Teachers’ Education to collaboratively work on improving the quality of education in the Town and Zone through capacity building and research undertakings. On the occasion of signing the MOU, Professor Fikre articulated that the University is committed to contributing its share through producing qualified teachers and professionally supporting the schools around.
The workshop also involved international experience sharing on teacher education. The afternoon sessions were devoted to sharing international experiences to the end of laying strong foundation for the Center of Excellence in the making. Prof Maina Faith from Texas Tech University has presented her university’s experiences of training school teachers and running PhD program in Curriculum studies and Teacher Education. In the discussions made following her presentations, participants have pinned to relevant points that can be adapted to the overall activities of the Center of Excellence and to the preparation of teachers and the PhD program to be launched in the area of Curriculum and Instruction in particular. Moreover, for the efficient and effective adaption of key recommendations drawn from the Texas Tech University’s experiences, the need for sustaining the collaboration commenced with the visit of Prof Maina was underlined."