The Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA), the nation’s education regulatory body, will soon be issuing licenses for colleges and universities to give online education for the first time in Ethiopia.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Agency made the announcement on August 6, 2020, while launching guidelines for online education and jointly developed software designed to keep the database of higher education institutions.
The Agency has finished drafting the directive that will enable it to regulate online education in tertiary level education institutions and have sent it to the ministry of higher education for approval a month ago.
The law took a year and a half in the making and was drafted with the collaboration of experts in education, information communications.
The officials at the event disclosed that the new arrangement aimed to expand access to higher education and improve digital literacy in the country.
To get approval from the Agency, the institutions are required to prepare a curriculum, outline a digital instruction design, arrange teacher and student support services and assessments, and set up a student registration system.
There has been no framework for online education in Ethiopia, but now recognized higher education institutions are allowed to have the license based on the guideline to provide online classes for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Private and public higher education institutions were pushed to online education this year due to the Novel Coronavirus impact.
The directive will govern the 50 state universities and 250 other colleges across the country. So far, the Agency has registered a total of 1.4 million students that graduated from higher education institutions in the last two decades.
More than 1 million students are currently enrolled in 250 private colleges that have received accreditation from HERQA.
Recently, digitalization has been given more attention from the government. In June 2020, the council of ministers approved a digital strategy that allows the government to invest millions to build infrastructure to promote digitalization.
The Agency is also working on building an online licensing and renewing system for eligible higher education institutions. The newly launched software allows the Agency to find the records of private colleges around the country.