Eritrea’s successful endeavor in developing human resources while yielding educated members of the society makes it one of the archetypal in Africa.
The annual commencements of Eritrean colleges with increasing number of graduates every year, the instance of this year’s 30000 tassels, and the opening of the new Eritrean College of Science are simple examples of 2017. Eritrea is indeed the pivot of Education and the Eritrean people literary hail its students. We talk today to an exemplary graduate of the College of Engineering: Milkias Zerai. Born in 1993 in Dibarawa, he is one of our hundreds of thousands accomplishers!
- -Define yourself as a student.
I started school way before the standard age. From the very begging up to now I have been studying with great passion and dedication. In Sawa boarding school I scored the highest out all of the 23rd round. My parents’ commitment in continuously reminding me education’s paramount importance is one of the important factors.
- -You talk about the role of parents
It is really important. In fact my parents are not educated but they understand the importance of education so they started paying close attention at the first day of school. It is not just for me but also for my siblings. From 6th grade and forth it was all me, I finally understood that I would better do my job right as student. I paid attention to all subjects but I slightly liked more mathematics and physics. But one discipline or another what a student needs the most is concentration and dedication. If you are interested then you’ll find studying methods most suitable for your tendencies and aptitudes.
- -What was your studying method?
Mine was a bit unconventional. I don’t focus on the quantity of time that I spend on studying but on the efficiency of my studying scheme. I like to focus for a short period rather than spending long hours. I think this is why I enjoyed studying; it never bore me. Pin pointing the key factors of what you’re studying and tuning the rest of your knowledge on that makes you a successful student. A student should also be able to relax and rest.
- -Care to share your memories of Sawa?
I have wonderful memories. Studying in Sawa was definitely a memorable experience. We had qualified teachers who passed down their knowledge with enthusiasm. Of course living and studying away from home is not easy, especially at first, but then you learn to live with new people; people from different ethnicities and from all over the nation. So the gain is imperative. I enjoyed studying in Sawa; it meant gathering thousands of versatile points of view.
- -Why did you choose to study chemical engineering?
I was keen on physics and chemistry, especially in the 11th grade. I had a fond interest in minerals. Of course things were a lot harder when I got to college. Chemical engineering sure is a demanding field of study, but very rewarding too. I believe that Eritrea could benefit a lot from chemical engineers. Our country is endowed with massive mineral resources that need to be explored even more. So far at a global level countries like America, Australia and Canada have evolved in the mining sector; they have covered so many parts of the world. Minerals are irreplaceable and it is unpleasant when countries don’t benefit directly from that wealth. The way the mining sector is handled in some countries is irresponsible. They let other companies have almost full control over it, without putting into consideration neither the majority of the people nor the future generations. Resources should not be wasted in vein. Every nation should be able to introduce and work on recycling schemes.
Eritrea has recently dived in that sector and we’ve benefited a lot. However, I hope for us as a nation to grow even more in this specific sector. And I have a positive feeling that we will.
Studying chemical engineering in EIT was great. We had theoretical and practical education. As students we did go countless times, to mining sites and experienced firsthand the things we learned in class. That is how normally classes are handled in the College. Also the reason why I decided starting from day one to make good use of each college day; I knew I had to graduate with an honorary degree.
- -Where did you do your college service?
I worked as a graduate assistant in my college, EIT. At first, my students really didn’t understand why a young GA would stand in front of the class. I could tell that they didn’t trust their 23/24 year old young GA, but in time we started getting along very well. Classes were enjoyable both for them. We even started meeting after class for more studying and revising sessions.
- -What are your future plans now that you have graduated?
I have been appointed to keep on teaching. I am currently set on, with the assistance of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, learning and doing research on different aspects of mining in our country focusing on mining companies active in our country. I will most probably start my graduate studies. I want to apply for mining economics. Other than that I speak English, Italian, Spanish and French. Now I want to learn Portuguese and Arabic.
- -That’s plenty! Good luck in every step.