By The Editor
Professor Tadesse Mehari, a respected and distinguished academician, and the CEO of the Eritrean National Commission for Higher Educations, provided a presentation on the development of higher education in Eritrea to a group of distinguished citizens in London, the United Kingdom. His presentation was brief and enlightening on what is happening around the higher educations of Eritrea under his leadership. Asmara-Online hails the Professor for his brief and concise presentation to the group of distinguished citizens. Particularly, the Editor’s eyes were caught by the title of the presentation “Schemes and Opportunities for Eritrean Professionals in the Diaspora to Partake in Enrichment of Eritrean Human Resources and National Building”. While the background information on higher education development by the respected Professor was important in its own right, his visions towards the development of higher educations were even more appealing and hard to ignore them. He outlined the policies of the NCHE as:
- Access and equity,
- Relevance, and
- Engagement of Eritrean Diaspora professionals into teaching under a volunteering schemes.
Professor Tadesse further outlined how the diaspora may engage in the development of higher education but only focused on the diaspora professionals. He outlined the following four areas for engagement and cooperation between the NCHE and the diaspora professionals:
- Diaspora professionals making themselves available for volunteering in the teaching processes of higher educations;
- Teaching, researches, curriculum development, and student advisory services;
- Providing material supports to the higher education institutions; and
- Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Eritreans in Europe.
Asmara-Online fully endorses the respected Professor’s presentation and the policy outlines of the NCHE including the engagement of the diaspora professionals in the development of higher education in Eritrea towards nation building. Asmara-Online, beyond the diaspora professionals’ roles, wants to extend to the whole diaspora communities indirect engagement through mobilizing their financial resources to help the development of higher educations in Eritrea. While he recognizes international financial support to his institution, the respected and humble academician, has failed to clearly stipulate how the diaspora as a whole may help financially and in a sustainable manner towards the development of higher educations. In this regard, Asmara-Online, bearing in mind the above outlines by the respected Professor, suggests the following for consideration by the NCHE:
- Incorporate a foundation within the NCHE building to coordinate grants and donations by the diaspora;
- Encourage youth groups in the diaspora to organize themselves as files to support Eritrean higher educations like “Europe File, North America File, Middle East File, Africa File, and so on”. Note that these are not branches of the incorporated foundation within the NCHE.
- In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assign a focal person within each Embassy and consular offices which provides ongoing advices and information to the files;
- Open a separate NCHE account and give it whatever name like “NCHE/Diaspora Foundation Fund”;
- NCHE reflects diaspora grants and donations in its annual or medium budget;
- NCHE should not consider diaspora contribution as part of its general budget while it can charge admin expenses to the diaspora contributions. Meaning diaspora contributions to NCHE are meant to real investments not for salaries and other current expenditures of NCHE;
- Open informative website under the incorporated foundation within the NCHE building and share info how diaspora may help and contribute through their regional files or directly to the NCHE/Diaspora Foundation Fund”;
Institutionalizing the diaspora financial support around higher education not only sustains support to the sector but also helps the NCHE to set targets based on available financial resources, and forecasted donations and grants from the diaspora communities.
Asmara-Online once again hails the progress of higher education in Eritrea and remains committed to promote the policies of NCHE at the public level.