Prof. Tadese Mehari, Chief Executive Director of Eritrea’s Institutions of Higher Education, has recently been on vacation to the US. His visit coincided with the annual Festival of Eritrean community members residing in the US. He conducted a seminar from 7th to 9th August 2015 to Eritreans in Washington DC, and from 15th to 17th August to Eritreans residing in Oakland, California, as regards the current situation of Eritrea’s higher institutions of education.
He also visited difference universities such as universities of California and Tennessee State University. This is how a vacation turns into a work visit.
How was his vacation? Where the discussions he made with different American universities fruitful? How about the engagement of Eritreans in the US towards making a difference in the over¬all development activities being carried out in the homeland and particularly in the empowerment of tertiary education? What other developments happened during his stay in the US?
Present in a conference organized by YPFDJ members in the US, Prof. Tadese, presented a paper about the ongoing development of higher education in the homeland. Besides the seminars he conducted in three different places, Prof. Tadese was engaged in a teleconference in which 28 educated Eritreans took part.
The teleconference arranged by Prof. Ghidewon Abay, and all the seminars were highly fruitful, ac-cording to Prof. Tadese.
Prof. Tadese’s visit to Stanford University in California, Tennessee State University, University of California Berkeley, as well as to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee was remarkably and indication to the overall efforts being made to strengthen local institutions of higher education through the reinforcement of relationships with reputed universities from around the world.
“I made discussions as regards the reinforcement of ties and prospects of cooperation with different American universities. And, so far, a memorandum of understanding has been signed with Tennessee State University,” Said Prof. Tadese.
My stay in the US was very short and the discussions made with different American universities were not prearranged ones, is what Prof. Tadese said while explaining about the scope of discussions carried out with different universities.
Taking into account that his stay in America was short, the discussions Prof. Tadese made with the reputed universities were very helpful in exploring the areas where cooperation activities are to be carried out in the future. In this regard the Professor said “We are planning to hold meetings with the other universities I have already visited so as to see ways for the reinforcement of relationships.”
Participation of Eritreans in abroad particularly in extending supports for the establishment of digital libraries in all institutions of higher education is another development that has been witnessed in the last there to four years. Eritreans in Europe and America have been sending tablets in a bid to proved students with extended access to educational resources.
According to Prof. Tadese, around 500 tablets, which exemplary Eritreans have donated in two phases, are making due contribution in the establishment of digital libraries in different institutions of higher education. “The envisaged goal is to provide one tablet for one student though,” said Prof. Tadese. “At the request I made during the seminar conducted in Las Vegas to members of YPFDJ, around US dollar 35,000 was collected in a few minutes towards that end.”
An upgrade in standards and academic excellence of local institutions of higher education has been of a major concern. Prof Tadese says in this regard “What has so far been accomplished is highly commendable, despite numerous challenges. Qualification of the graduating students has been con-firmed through various assessment procedures. Hence, provision to quality education is being staidly realized.”
Access to tertiary education has been the primary goal but what fallows is empowerment of the institutions of higher education.
The Commission of Higher Education has been shouldering a mandate of coordination which there by leads to an all-round reinforcement of institutions of higher education. Prof. Tadese’s discussion with Eritreans and with the different American universities during his stay in America is highly indicative of a steady engagement.