College of Arts and Social Sciences and College of Business and Economics jointly held a graduation ceremony on September 8, in Adi-Keih. They conferred postgraduate degrees, bachelor degrees, diplomas and certificates to a total of 521 students in Law, Political Science and International Relations, Sociology and Social work, Anthropology and Archeology, History, Geography, journalism and Mass Communication, Fine Arts, English, Eritrean Language and Literature, Accounting, Economics, Finance, Management, and Public Administration.
Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), Dr. Woldetnsae Tewelde, speaking at the event, said that after more than a decade, the College stands as the largest public institution in the fields of arts and social sciences. It currently tertiary level education ranging from certificate to postgraduate studies. It also accommodates and runs freshman teaching program for the arts and social science stream students.
Dr. Wodetnsae congratulated the graduates and their families saying that they are graduating shortly after the constructive engagement between Eritrea and Ethiopia. He reminded the graduates to live up to their society’s expectations that made huge investment and gave them free educational opportunity which is still a dream in other countries.
The College of Arts and Social Sciences is located in an environment with breath taking land scape, historical sites and significant relics in archeology. It features state-of-the-art buildings and facilities including staff office, libraries, classrooms, lecture halls, computer labs, residential quarters, dining halls, student resource rooms, auditorium, as well as canteen and sports playground.
During the current academic year, in addition to the regular annual enrollment of students, the college has designed a special curriculum leading to certificate in Journalism to train 22 students from the Ministry of Information. In its 11th commencement, the College has graduated a total of 238 students in four academic programs: 12 in Master of Science level; 164 in bachelor degree, 40 in diploma and 22 in certificate.
Dr. Woldetnsae said that female enrolment and completion rates have undergone a remarkable increase over the past few years. During the last academic year females accounted for 46% of the student population in the college.
College infrastructure and facilities have profound impact on teachers’ instruction and students’ academic achievement, attendance, behavior, and completion rates. In view of this, the recent massive maintenance and infrastructural developments that took place on the Adi-Keih ca,pus have provided a positive learning environment. The renovation and expansion schemes that included replacement of ineffective installations and extensive repairs of facilities have reinvigorated the passion of teaching and learning. In addition, water and electricity projects, toilet and sanitary facilities, drainage system and overall landscaping have substantially changed student campus life. “The College community greatly values the huge investment made in infrastructure and hails the Government’s commitment. Now, with basic needs being met, students will spend more time and energy on their study”, said Dr. Woldetnsae.
Dr. Woldetnsae went on to say that “the 2017/18 academic year turned out to be a successful year. The college has hosted guest speaker lectures from the Ministry of justice, Ministry of Information, and Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare. Students and instructors have access to academic references, scholarly material as the college’s digital library went operational”.
In 2018 the College’s faculty members returned home after completing their postgraduate studies in different countries. The College developed an Engagement Framework with a range of government institutions, which reflects commitment to working with stakeholders. These relationships primarily aim to maintain and improve the quality of education.
According to Dr. Woldetnsae, the College has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for linkage partnership with Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) Guzou University of Finance and Economics (China) and Eotvos Lorand University (Hungary) to cooperate in different fields of study. The project period for a comprehensive partnership between the College of Arts and Social Sciences and the University of Helsinki (Finland) has come to a successful end with 12 students graduating this year with Master of Science degree in Geoinformatics.
Dr. Woldetnsae said that the College of Arts and Social Sciences aims to produce graduates who are well prepared to enter communities with solid skills and a sense of social responsibility. In this respect, it has become necessary for the College to strategically re-position itself to meet the national needs for trained human power.
He further indicated that an in-depth survey on the human, material and infrastructural resources of the college was conducted recently, which provided insights on the existing strengths and weaknesses of the College. A strategic benchmark was also outlined that emphasizes prioritization of the national needs, and produce graduates, who acquire knowledge and skills that have practical application in the nation building process of the country. Moreover, the survey underscored the need for rethinking academic programs and updating resources. The College has started taking concrete steps in this regard as preparation is going on for a campus-wide curriculum review for all the courses that are offered in the College.
Dean of the College of Business and Economics, Dr. Estifanos Hailemariam, on his part, said that graduation is a milestone in a student’s life that marks the achievements of a student’s hard work and that charts one’s future career path.
The College of Business and Economics (CBE) graduated a total of 283 students in its 11th commencement who have duly fulfilled their academic requirements and national obligations.
Dr. Estifanos underscored that education is the single most important investment we can make for our future and one that is sure to bring fulfilling rewards in the years to come. Education is an invaluable asset to a nation. Education for all has been the motto carried during the struggle for independence and in the last 27 years of post-independent Eritrea. Education for all is not only a question of social justice but also a necessity for ensuring equitable and sustainable human development. Due to this, human resource development is a cornerstone of all other development policies in Eritrea.
In 2004, the Government restructured and decentralized higher education to provide access to many. The College of Business and Economics was established as an autonomous College at Halhale in 2004. Prior to this, since its establishment in 1958, it was one of the faculties of the University of Asmara.
Dr. Estifanos said that the vision of the College of Business and Economics is to be a center of excellence in teaching, research, advocacy and consultancy in its various fields of specializations not only in Eritrea but also in our region and contribute to the national economic development. As a college of business, its objective is to produce graduates who are job creators rather than job seekers. The various programs of the College aim at producing graduates with business and economics related skills and knowledge that can play a leading role in the nation building process and poverty eradication programs of the Government.
He further indicated that during this academic year, they have focused on establishing and consolidating their undergraduate programs and strived to enhance quality by promoting the application of information technology, improving the teaching-learning environment and enhancing the professional development of their staff and others.
Dr. Estifanos said that the relocation of their property from Halhale to Adi-Keih this year was challenging. “Despite these challenges, we have established a textbook store, computer laboratory, digital lab with over 20 thousand e-books and we are connected to the Internet” he added.
Dr. Estifanos says “the College aims at designing nationally relevant and internationally competitive, quality and sustainable educational programs. Our undergraduate programs are developed in consultation with the stakeholders and we are continuously striving to upgrade what we have and develop new programs”.
To enhance the staff qualification, the College has sent 18 staff members abroad in 2018.
Dr. Estifanos noted that the new location of Adi-Keih provided the students continuous supply of water and electricity. However, Dr. Estifanos says “we are still facing some challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, lack of internship opportunities in banks, hotels, factories and other business that are constraining the quality of teaching-learning process and research of staff and students”. The College aims to solve these constraints in collaboration with its stakeholders and improve the quality of teaching-learning process of the newly relocated College.
He congratulated the Business and Economics graduates and said that several students started the freshman program with them but, thanks to their hard work and dedication, they managed to reach the finish line. He said they have every reason to celebrate this moment and relish it to its fullest extent. Their achievement is a cumulative support that they have received not only from their instructors at the college but also from their teachers starting from the pre-school level. Moreover, the support of the state of Eritrea for providing free education throughout all levels of their educational career is precious. The nurturing and support that they received from their parents and guardians was very valuable, and their joy is shared by all of these.
He underlined that graduation is one chapter of a student’s life and an opening of another chapter of professional life. Dr. Estifanos stressed that education is a lifelong learning. He said “your graduation is a stepping stone for further formal and informal learning in your work places. I urge you to embrace your future with enthusiasm and open mind. As ambassadors of the two colleges, I advise you to carry on the values of the alma mater to be the best you can be and serve our country diligently and with dedication. Above all, I advise you to work hard and carry on the vision of our martyrs, building economically developed and prosperous Eritrea. The knowledge and skills that you have acquired in your programs during the past years will help you play a leading role in the reconstruction process in Eritrea”.
Dr. Estifanos, in his concluding remarks, thanked the college’s internal and external stakeholders, ministries and organizations, and individuals who supported them.
After the conferral of postgraduate degrees, bachelor degrees, diplomas and certificates, representatives of the graduates gave speech on behalf of graduates of both of the Colleges. They expressed their gratitude to all of those who made this opportunity possible and have allowed them to grow up and improve themselves together. They said this event is the result of the relentless effort and investment made on them by their parents, teachers and the government, and their graduation meant a great honor to them. They said, the vision of all these actors was to them in the top with the necessary knowledge and now that vision is fulfilled. They said that they are the product of the huge investment made on the educational sector. They pledged to pay back these sacrifices to their country and contribute their part in the developmental efforts. Both of the representatives of the students expressed their good wish on the development of peaceful relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Mrs. Askalu Menkerios, Minister of Tourism and designee of his Excellency president Isaias Afwerki, chancellor of the higher Institutions of Education, said that the dawn of the new era of peace between the sisterly countries of Eritrea and Ethiopia will usher new opportunities. “Our competition in this era will depend on the skilled and educated workforce we have and our policy of self-reliance and this time I urge you to prepare yourself towards establishing a developed Eritrea”.
Mr. Feleg Teweldemedhn, an English language and Literature graduate, said that having a clear goal in life and working with dedication is very decisive to achieve results and their graduation is a reflection of this. Our parent’s role to reach this level has been very decisive and this day is a day we pledge to compensate them. Mrs. Alganesh Tekelab, his mother, said that she was curious to see her son’s graduation obtained through hard work and investment made on them. On this occasion I would like to forward my messages to parents to push their sons and daughters towards high levels of education and utilize the opportunities the Government has provided them.
Mr. Ali Osman Ali, who graduated with very great distinction in Law, told us that one chapter of his educational journey has been closed with a first degree and he plans to continue with a Master’s degree in the future and compensate the free education provided to him by the Government and contribute his part to the nation building process. He urged the youth to have a clearly set goal they want to achieve which “made me reach this level”, he said.