January 18, 2014

Higher Education in Eritrea

Higher Education in Eritrea

Until 2004, the University of Asmara ( UoA ), which was established by Italian Missionaries in 195, was the only Institution of Higher Education ( IHE ) in the country. It had a limited capacity enrolling a maximum of 1200 students per year.

Thus, it was not only unable to absorb enough students at tertiary level but was also unable to fulfil higher education needs of the country.

To this effect, there was a felt need of decentralizing and expanding tertiary education throughout the country. As a result, in 2004 and 2005 seven new IHE were established in different parts of the country.These are:

i) Eritrea Institute of Technology (EIT), Mai Nefhi, which includes:
a) College of Education
b) College of Engineering and Technology.
c) College of Science.

ii) Hamelmalo Agricultural College (HAC), Hamelmalo.
iii) Asmara College of Health Sciences (ACHS), Asmara.
iv) Orotta School of Medicine & Dental Medicine (OSMDM), Asmara.
v) College of Marine Sciences & Technology (COMSAT), Massawa.
vi) Halhale College of Business and Economics (HCBE), Halhale.
vii) College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), Adi Keih.

The academic and administrative responsibilities in all IHE are organized in a similar way.
With the advent of the IHE, there was a need to oversee and coordinate their activities. Thus, a provisional committee for the coordination of Higher Education (PCCHE) was established in October 2006 under the auspices of the Office of the President with Deans of all IHE as members.

The PCCHE was mandated to facilitate the exchange of ideas and consultation and coordinate the activities of the IHE so as to create synergy and complementarily among them. During its life span, the PCCHE contributed profoundly towards the smooth functioning and coordination of activities among the IHE in the country. Consequently, the Government of the Sate of Eritrea (GoSE) established the executive Director’s Office of the National Board for Higher Education (NBHE) in January 2008 to serve as managing office of the NBHE and to oversee and coordinate the overall functioning of the IHE in the country. The PCCHE was elevated to the NBHE in October 2010 to function under the chairmanship of the Minister of Education.

2 – Mission Statement
The salient mission of the NBHE is to promote higher education and facilitate the advancement of all IHE to be centers of excellence in terms of education, research and public services. Through this process, the NBHE intends to play an important role in spearheading the building up of knowledge-based economy in the country.

3- Mandate of the IHE
The Board has been entrusted with a broad mandate to plan, evaluate, improve and promote the higher education and research sector in Eritrea and to facilitate the promotion of all IHE so that they serve as engines for the socio-economic development of the country. The Board represents the interest of higher education, oversees the functions of the governing bodies of the IHE and guides the overall development of higher education in the country on behalf of the Government of the State of Eritrea. Moreover, it advises the government on issues pertaining to Higher Education.

4 – Higher Education Policy Framework
The policy direction of the Government of the State of Eritrea on Higher Education (HE) is, and will continue to be, anchored primarily on the following strategic principles or pillars which also define the core policy domains:

  • Relevance of the higher education system.
  • Access and equality to higher education.
  • Quality of higher education.
  • Sustainability of the higher education system.
  • Research and development.
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