Needless to say that education provides unified collection of thoughtful ideas to transform knowledge and enlightenment down to posterity in the vast and uncontrolled information era; but it should be in systematic and careful way of teaching-learning process. Because, educational system, to the contrary might not be worth a great deal if it slips the right path to teach youngsters how to make a life. It is the right way to teach children how to make their own life rather than teaching them how to make a living, be it through experience or formal education that changes outcomes, because some arguments would agree that knowledge gained through experience serves equal or better than that is gained through formal education.
It is an undeniable fact to apprehend that experience is a great teacher. It should at the same time be acknowledged that this form of knowledge will not be sustainable and would not provide in-depth knowledge of the field of study one is proceeding in. Therefore, it could be summarized that nothing equals education to cope up with the ever growing advancement of technology and global information system timely and appropriate. Besides, students who live away from home during their college or university years typically experience a major turning point in their lives that has little to do with academics or professional training. During their stay in the campus residence halls they are provided common settings to form new bonds with peers who share similar experiences.
Other students form social networks by joining student organizations or participating in extracurricular activities of the formal education to stir up the know-how of the individuals. And hence, researches and inventions lead formal education for knowledge has no an end. Colleges and Universities strive for educational excellence as quality education is attained through continuous educational uplift, among which Eritrea is striving to achieve. Ever since most of Eritrean colleges of Higher Education started due service in 2004-2005, they had mainly been engaged in teaching in the very beginning of three-four years. But now, they have started to feed their respective sectors with the necessary demand of graduates since they once started graduating. Since then the number of graduates of every college is increasing from year to year as the same does the total number of students who join these colleges every year.
So far, the number of graduates for the last three years of 2008, 2009 and 2010 has reached to about 3000 from the degree program and to about 5000 from diploma, according to Dr. Tadese Mehari, Executive Director of the National Board for Higher Educations. This means these colleges have, within the past three years, made 8000 graduates ready for the overall national development drive, both from degree and diploma programs. But the Government’s main objective is to extend the Higher Institution with all its possibilities of educational intelligence. Establishing partnerships for Masters Degree and Distance Learning Programs in collaboration with some stakeholders of Higher Education Institutions and Universities make the country’s educational development prosper from time to time.
Thus youngsters’ opportunity for Higher Education has increased for four-five folds that on the way has enlarged the number of graduates from maximum of 1000 to about 2000 yearly. However the graduates could be few in number, Dr. Tadese indicated that the colleges would graduate from Master Degree program from now onwards. Henceforth, it could be dared say that qualified human power is being nurtured from these colleges that would contribute for the national development process. For the fact that most programs of postgraduate education usually require a first degree or its equivalent as a prerequisite for admission, Dr. Tadese pointed out that their strive goes back up to checking the general performance of the newly join students for the freshman program so that the students would not be challenged to continue their studies. Education beyond the undergraduate years is often directed toward preparation for entrance into most professions, and for this, graduate assistants prepare themselves for the hard work of advanced training which is necessary for recognition as a practitioner. As most professions require good command of skills for career, further education is frequently needed for the advancement of professionals, and with this, postgraduate education may also represent the continuation of interests begun at the undergraduate level but not directed toward career goals of the students.
To better advance the Postgraduate education program, Dr. Tadese said that colleges would start make linkages with similar foreign Universities or colleges that would provide training for individuals wishing to continue their studies with the aim of entering professional careers. “We strive to develop students’ creativity, insight, and analytical skills,” said Dr. Tadese in support of acquainting students with complex ideas in an intellectually stimulating environment where colleges and universities can provide unique opportunities for personal enrichment while also preparing students for future careers. For, even less specialized jobs, require some postsecondary education, the development of new technologies and the globalization of the world economy have created high demand for workers with computer, communications, and other occupational skills that can be acquired at colleges or universities.
Therefore, equipping with computers and other new technologies have been the first priorities of Eritrean colleges as these types of technologies create widespread job opportunities for those who have the proper training in the world of competition. At this juncture, respective sectors or institutions get college graduates who have gained the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to adapt to changing economic conditions. But one main problem which Dr. Tadese mentions is that majority of the instructors who instruct in the colleges are foreigners, mostly from India, with the demand of very high payment of hard currency. As a result, a new negotiation for distance learning has already established to train Eritrean graduate assistants by sending them abroad to stakeholder universities. The motive is unrelenting. So far, a new memorandum of understanding is signed to start the program in the near future, according to Dr. Tadese.
Later on, Dr Tadese reiterated that they have the plan to start and extend the postgraduate education program here within the local colleges as already has started by some college, the college of Eritrean Institute Technology and college of Health Sciences in collaboration with stakeholder Universities. Through time it is planned that the postgraduate education program will start in the other colleges too, because almost every college is provided with the necessary teaching aid materials and other equipment crucial for researches and reference. “Computer, internet facilities, reference books, and laboratory equipment is fulfilled,” he recapped.
Having all the aforementioned teaching aid equipment and research and reference materials on the ground, there is no means that these colleges can’t accommodate the postgraduate education program right after the arrival of over one hundred graduate assistants who are sent abroad for their Masters degree, which most of them are expected to complete their studies at the end of this year. Besides, Dr. Tadese indicated that distance learning is also another complement that would open opportunity for graduated who are fulfilling their career assigned in different ministries and other Governmental organizations.
And this in turn will have its own advantage for our colleges will have linkages with their respective sectors and institutions in a bilateral cooperation as to decide types of graduates should be produced and what types of researched to be carried out. And externally, the linkage partnership is done through necessary cooperation of one college with some similar other colleges or Universities from abroad, be it in Africa, Asia, Europe or America. Based on the realities so far achieved in the education sector, Dr. Tadese concluded that he dares say that there is a possibility of extending endeavors that goes beyond the teaching-learning process to the stage of research developments.