It was a bright and beautiful day, a wonderful moment seeing the title holders on the particular day wearing their gowns and heading to the ceremony. The National Commission for Higher Education (NCHE), on Saturday February 18th ceremony, honorably graduated 47 students who attended various distance courses. As a continuous effort and investment on education by the Government of Eritrea scholarships and distance education remain priorities.
Thirty eight students among the graduates received their credentials on Masters of Business Administration, Masters of Science in Human Resource Management, Masters of Science in Finance and Control from the Swiss Management Center University (SMC). The remaining nine graduates obtained their masters in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa (UNISA).
As soon as invited guests, parents and graduates took their seats a minute of silence in honor of our martyrs was held. Following that the Executive Director of the NCHE Professor Tadesse Mehari gracefully made the commencement official, recognizing graduates by their respective fields of studies.
This graduates are the products of the ongoing and unwavering commitment of the Government of Eritrea who are expected to enlighten their people at all levels and thereby proving themselves that they are productive and responsible citizens. In line with this vision the National Commission for Higher Education relentlessly works to produce highly qualified human resource in the country. This institution worked hard, with the same speed and same spirit, to ensure quality education at higher institutions. Sending graduates overseas for training for Masters and PhD degrees, opening post-graduate programs at Eritrea Institute of Technology, Health Science Technology College, Hamelmalo Agricultural College, Asmara College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Social Sciences while still providing opportunities for upgrading through distance education, are some of the efforts.
The Distance Education Program at the NCHE is coordinated by the Bureau of Standards and Evaluation. The current Distance Education Program started four years ago, to be precise in April 2013. Eligible candidates from 33 ministries and government institutions were enrolled in three phases. These students were nominated by their respective ministries and organizations and had to fulfill certain requirements such as having work experience of three years or above, and passing English Proficiency tests.
Mr. Eyob Tesfayohannes one of the graduates from Swiss Management Center University stated that the studies required concentration and hard work and appreciated his ministry (Ministry of Information) for the kind support offered. The Government of Eritrea gives equal opportunities to all people, so that students from every corner of the country get access to such opportunities.
A total of 126 students from all ministries and government institutions were enrolled in the two universities. The Master’s program from the Swiss Management Center University is generally a two year program but the graduates completed it in four years due to some shortcomings like slow internet connections and lack of educational resources such as books and journals.
The University of South Africa’s master’s program was expected to take three years and was completed on the planned time. Despite limitations, the national commission considers the occasion as an important achievement and a milestone as the 47 graduates (covering 37% of the initial number) have dully fulfilled their requirements in the two universities.
Out of the total graduates; while 44 students were sponsored by the national Commission for Higher education through the African Development Funds, two were sponsored by the Eritrean Center for Organizational Excellency and the remaining one by Ministry of Education.
As is always said Knowledge is power. Education continues to be the premise of progress in every society. Educational access is for all and age is not a limit. A good example of this is Mr. Habteab Fishastion who graduated from SMC. Though he is 70 years old he completed his study with passion and zeal feeling young and energetic. This simply explains that there is always time for studying and one just needs to go for it.
Mr. Abdurahman Ibrahim a graduate from SMC stated that, “This success is the result of endless effort by the Government from the early stage of our education.” Provision of equal educational services to all parts of the country since independence has brought about countless positive outcome, particularly in the lives of the rural society. Students from all regions have got the opportunity to participate in education from early levels of school up to colleges and post-graduation programs.
The graduates have managed to fulfill the graduation requirements despite the limitations they had during the course of the study. This is a sign of resilience and efficiency that extends beyond obstacles and needs to be acknowledged and recommended, Dr. Bisrat Ghebru, Director of the bureau of Standards and Evaluation emphasized on the special day. She also expressed her gratitude to the Government as well as the National Commission for Higher Education for making the funds available for these graduates to pursue the post graduate education.
Everywhere, education is the core step to any development. Taking this into consideration, the graduates worked hard to develop their knowledge and skills. The representative of the graduates Mrs. Haregu Daniel addressed that “the moment is not only to celebrate the completion of the Master’s Degree program but also a day in which we graduates promise to ourselves to transfer our knowledge into tangible results thereby, contribute our share to the socio-economic development of our nation.”
When Professor Ted Sun, Vice chancellor of the Swiss Management Center University delivered a speech, he underlined that Eritrean Government is doing its best to provide best and quality education and recommended students have a wider perspective to obtain knowledge while considering what they will do to their country.
Finally Mr. Semere Russom Minister of Education presented his speech and noted that success depends on clear vision and hard work. Nevertheless, he indicated that people need to use such opportunities effectively and finally wished the graduates good luck in their future endeavors.
The Swiss Management Center University is an accredited international online business school providing distance learning on Bachelors, Masters and PhD programs for students worldwide. At the same time the University of South Africa (UNISA) is among the largest universities in Africa and attracts all higher education students from around the world. The Government of Eritrea in collaboration with this universities continues and will continue to provide such opportunities to young and qualified students.
Last but not list, with great hope and expectation, the commencement was a benchmark for the graduates’ future task. The endurance and long term commitment to finish such online programs merits recognition and respect. As we all know availability of trained and qualified human resource is the major requisite to development in any society. Therefore, as Dr. Bisrat said it is the society’s sincere hope that the graduates will use their upgraded knowledge and skills in their respective organization and ministries to responsibly serve the nation.