A one-year-old college that resembles, from a far-off distance, a big floating ship while the lights lit during nighttime has brought a spark of knowledge to the areas around Adi-Keyh. The historical sites in near vicinities of the College of Arts and Social Sciences have now found a means through which they could unfold the relics and other ruminants of a glorious past that have been buried deep underneath the earth’s crust. The physical beauty of the landscapes would now be easily studied and many untold facts would emerge. Many other fields of study that concern about the physical, cultural, archeological, sociological and anthropological, as well as nature’s beauty and arts in general would tell stories of their own for all the ingredients that help to do so are available around the area to which the college is situated. All the colleges established in different parts of the country since 2004 are situated in areas that could provide the necessary facilities and other factors that are required for practical courses. Dr. Oqubaghebriel Beraki, Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences said: “Being a physical geography instructor, the landscape allows me to reinforce the theoretical topics with practical exposure in a very tangible manner.” And indeed, the areas around Kohayto, Keskese, Tokonda, Metera and other places would easily enable any archeology student study archeological facts through practical studies on the historic sites and by visiting ancient ‘caves paintings’ which the dean referred to as a natural laboratory.
The Dean also said that the Arts and Social Sciences stream plays a vital role for the advance of the Natural Sciences. As there have been notions of belittling the role arts and social sciences could play while compared with the natural sciences, the Dean recommended students that they should not lightly view the significant role arts and social sciences play but rather need to see the close relations between the natural and social sciences as complimenting areas of studies.
The decrease in number of students who join the CASS may have resulted from lack of interests. The college has to address the issue by conducting orientations. With this regard, the college has been giving orientation about the college such as: the course each respective department offers, the academic excellence they should attain to succeed as outstanding students, and the rules and regulations of the college. Students from the college have also been made to share experiences with the high school students in Adi-Keyh as well as in Senafe which could help them to sensibly decide a stream of study in the tertiary education level. This way, the college has become a source of inspiration that many children from the villages around the college are showing eagerness to join the college through successfully pursue their education and reach a higher level of achievement. Likewise, outstanding students of the college have been sharing experiences with the students of Warsay Yikealo Senior Secondary School so as to attract as many students.
The orientations held in Sawa may have been very influential. Bersabel Haile, a first year student in the college said “I love being a social science student; I had a great passion to join the arts and social sciences.” She also said “When Dr. Oqubaghebriel gave us an orientation about the College of Arts and Social Sciences in Adi-keyh, I even become more eager to join it. However, I had worries about my future academic carrier in the college for a number of social science students failed in the national matriculation exam.”
Luna Tesfit, 2nd year student from the department of English on her part said “I was very enthusiastic to join the social science department since long that goes back from my earlier studies as a secondary school student and I like the department which I eagerly waited to join.
“What I have learned from Dr. Oqubaghebriel’s speech in Sawa is that how students should use the freedom they have in the college for their own good,” Bersabel said. Both Bersabiel and Luna express their satisfaction at the college saying “Everything is just beyond our expectation. Every body cares about you. The study rooms, libraries and all supplies are just beyond the expectation.”
This college used to educate in five departments during its inception time. Last year it graduated in six fields of study and this time it is offering educational services in nine departments such as the departments of Geography, Political Science, History, International Relations, Eritrean languages, English, Sociology, Anthropology, Archeology and Law in degree programs and Fine Arts as well as Journalism and Mass Communication at a diploma level. Dr. Oqubaghebriel said “Though part of the faculties in Adi-Keyh College of Arts and Social Sciences, the department of law is functioning in Asmara for the instructors are regular workers at the Ministry of Justice.”
The CASS held three commencements at the Eritrea Institute of Technology (EIT) for it was temporarily situated there. The fourth commencement was in Adi-Keyh where the College self-sufficiently stands on its own. Since its establishment in 2004, a total of 820 students of whom the 655 who pursued their higher education in EIT and the rest 194 in the new college at Adi-Keyh have so far graduated from the CASS. Introduced in the later developments of the college, departments of Sociology and Social Works as well as Law would graduate in a year or two.
The long-term plan of the college would be to establish three independent faculties of Arts, Social Sciences and law which would raise the college into an institute. According to Dr. Oqubaghebriel, the College may look forward to open additional department that would offer courses in Italian, Germany and French languages as well as department of Philosophy, all of which as full-fledged or as service giving departments.
As the name of the college implies the College of Arts and Social Sciences also partakes in societal activities. The college’s clubs of arts and forums of discussions have been playing vital role. Students of this respective college have been sharing views in varied fields of interests which are indeed very imperative for the socialization aspects. Moreover, Dr. Ogbaghebriel said that activities that enhance social links have been carried out through arranging sports competitions among the different departments. The college team also engages in competition with the teams of the villages around Adi-Keyh. They also partake in popular campaigns in all societal activities around the College and the inhabitants of that respective locality have twice offered the college with cattle.
With regards the academic competence of students, the dean said that their performance is very encouraging; studying here in the college, they have acquired good skills and graduates of the college who have been deployed in varied areas of the country are doing what is expected of them in alleviating the deficits of teachers. “They are very creative. They are implementing beyond expectations particularly through developing new teaching-learning methods in each respective department,” he explained.
The college has been also providing students with the necessary textbooks. Outstanding- 4th year students have been offering tutorial classes to the freshman students for good experiences were gained while in Sawa through peer education. The college is now looking a head to offer best educational services through upgrading the skills of Graduate assistants through scholarships of exchange programs. According to Dr. Ogubaghebriel of the around 60 teachers of the college which comprise senior staffs, and graduated assistants, so far 10 teachers have been sent abroad for masters degree. Besides, 10 new Indian instructors have been deployed to work in the CASS in this academic year. The college’s bright future is very evident from the very start. “The Board for Institution of Higher Education has been playing important role in providing Eritreans from Diaspora who wish to make due share as instructors during their stay in Eritrea,” Dr. Oqubaghebriel added.