Document: Neoliberal policy agenda and problem of inequality in Higher Education: the Ethiopian case

Tebeje Molla
Publication Date:
Thu, 11/10/2012 - 23:00
File Size:
389.37 K


Under the influence of external policy pressure of donors such as the World Bank, higher education (HE) in Ethiopia has witnessed a series of institutional and system-wide changes. In analysing selected policy documents, this paper seeks to identify key neoliberal policy agenda endorsed in the reform and explicate how they have affected social equity in the subsystem. The analysis shows that HE policy reforms in Ethiopia, primarily framed by concerns of economic efficiency, have constrained social equity in two important ways. First, at a discursive level, the problem of inequality is represented as a lack of access and a disadvantage in the human capital formation of the nation. Second, the drive for greater efficiency and reduced costs in the educational provision embedded in the reforms are inconsistent with the need for financial and political commitments required to benefit marginalised members of the society through relevant equity instruments. If the equity policy provisions should be instrumental in ensuring participation, retention and successful completion and thereby supporting the social mobility of disadvantaged groups, they need to draw on a social justice perspective.

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