By Haile-Gebriel Endeshaw
Kotebe Metropolitan University which is formerly known as Kotebe College of Teachers’ Education recently organized an event under the theme of motivating young girls and ladies to be diligent in their respective education and professions. This is quite appreciable endeavour other similar higher learning institutions should follow suit.
It has been reiterated that teaching a young girl can have equal advantage of coaching the entire community. This is well expressed by an African proverb. “Educate a boy and you educate an individual. Educate a girl and you educate a community”. Yes, it is said that if we educate a girl, she will make magnificent contributions throughout her life to change the world. Having females as teachers in schools is also tantamount to playing the role of mothers in a household. I am of the opinion that little children likely pay better attention to their lesson if they are taught by female teachers. That’s why I am saying pushing young girls to be industrious in their education can have multipronged advantages. So goes the saying, “if you educate a girl, you educate a nation.” Therefore, I should extend my sincere appreciation to Kotebe Metropolitan University for organizing this very important event with the theme of encouraging young girls on their education.
The history of education in this country testifies that Kotebe Metropolitan University has long been playing pivotal roles in producing the trained human power highly needed in the teaching and learning process. One can hardly name a local district which hasn’t got the opportunity of receiving the assignment of teacher graduates from Kotebe Teachers’ Training College now Kotebe Metropolitan University. So, the famous college, now a university, has helped the national efforts of supplying trained human power needed in the education sector.
But the surprising thing is that the defunct government harmed the reputation of this famous higher learning institute through the squint judgement it passed against the college to be governed by Addis Ababa City Administration. In a poor country where many newly built universities and colleges are acclaimed at federal level, our Ministry of Education defamed and down-graded the long serving college the country has been proud of. Because of this, many young compatriots were deprived of the opportunity of receiving better training from this famous college of teachers’ education. Following the wrong decision, many renowned and experienced instructors were forced to migrate to Addis Ababa University and other overseas higher learning institutions including locally mushrooming colleges and universities.
Former minister of education, W/ro Genet Zewdie has allegedly played the major role to downsize this well-known college. History of education recounts that this higher learning institute was first established as a high school. Many famous Ethiopians who have served the country at various senior civil service positions had their basic education from this celebrated school. Then after the high school was transformed in to Kotebe Teachers Training Institute (dubbed TTI) with the purpose of producing teachers at certificate level. The trainees were assigned up on their graduation to teach in elementary schools (from grade 1-6). Then it came to be called Kotebe Teachers Training College (widely known as TTC), giving training to young teacher candidates at the level of diploma to teach students of junior secondary schools (from grade 7-8). Next it has been changed in to Kotebe College of Teachers’ Education, which was supposed to give training to teacher candidates at both diploma and first-degree levels (BEd.-Bachelor of Education). It is this prominent higher learning institution that has deliberately been made to deteriorate during the era of Genet Zewdie.
The hilarious thing is that Genet Zewdie, who is the major character of this drama, was made to be one of the motivational speakers in the event organized by the university. How this disreputable lady who looked down on this well-known college was invited to present a motivational speech? How are the young female university students expected to regard an ill-famed woman as a role model? What we all should remember is that this is the big lady who contributed her share to lay out a detrimental education policy. This generation will never forget the measure taken against 46 professors and university instructors who were illegitimately sacked from Addis Ababa University during the era of this lady. She was head of the ministry when many young university students were rounded up, flogged and gunned down by the police. Violating students’ academic freedom, Genet Zewdie ushered the notorious federal police force in to the campus of Addis Ababa University causing the beating, crushing and butt-kicking of young students. How on earth Kotebe Metropolitan University took bold measure to invite this ill-famed lady to be a role model for the promising young girls? Why the administration wrongly made decision to pick the lady who vilified its college? What does this mean? Does the concerned body of the university need female students to be like this infamous lady? Do we all need the young girls to be cruel like Genet Zawdie? Do you need our sisters to graduate and become school teachers and principals who in the long run will fail to protect their students from the cudgels and bullets of the police? No way!
We have many famous sisters who can be taken as better role models than this notorious lady. We have been blessed with diligent ladies like Konjit Sine-Giorgis, a renowned long serving diplomat who has served her country for many years in the diplomatic arena. Yelem-Tsehai Mekonnin, the first female professor in science faculty of Addis Ababa University. Maaza Birru, a journalist who produces worth listening radio programs and the one who has given us the best radio station, Sheger 102.1. Dr. Momina Ahmed, the lady who led the first kidney transplant process at Paulos Millennium Medical College. Amsale Gualu, the first senior female captain at Ethiopian Air Lines. Dr. Eleni Gebre-Medihin, economist and the one who established ECX (Ethiopian Commodity Exchange). Maaza Kitaw, the former celebrated chief head of National Lottery. Tsehai Melaku, diligent teacher and prolific writer who used to produce amazing articles under various pseudonyms and authored books. Yetnebersh Nigussie, the marvellous lawyer and right activist for the disabled. Maaza Ashenafi, the renowned lawyer who has played roles to establish Ethiopian Women’s Lawyers Association and Enat Bank. Birtukan Midekssa, the renowned politician and magistrate who took bold measure to release from prison the former Minister of Defence, Siye Abraha…
We have all these and other meritorious female Ethiopians who have reached their respective current positions through hard work and persistence in their education. Therefore, one can never feel discomfort if s/he picks one of these genuine Ethiopians as role models to the young girls. While we have all these ladies, how Kotebe Metropolitan University made alarming decision to nominate the infamous old lady for this commendable event? Are heads of the university still feel comfort with their decision? Or do they have conscience to regret for what they did? I don’t know what shame comes up on them!
This piece is the opinion of the writer. He is available at firstname.lastname@example.org