Close to 50 private higher education institutions have been found to register beyond their capacity, following the end of a one-month notice given by the Federal Education & Training Authority to report the number of students enrolled in each program. The Authority suspended the accreditation of over 1,000 courses and permits to new institutions indefinitely, effective  December 2022.

Officials at the Authority told Fortune that almost all institutions that had submitted a report within the month were over-capacitated.

Formerly known as the Higher Education Relevance & Quality Agency, the Authority was mandated to supervise and has made the decision after surveying institutions with aims to curb the rising numbers of forged and invalid documents.

Students are not aware of the invalidity of their degrees until they seek authentication from the Authority following promotions or application to job posts, noted Wubshet Tadele, deputy director at the Authority.

"The profit-oriented approach rather than the quality of education led to this," he said.

Wubshet emphasised that the evaluation would continue in more than 40 public universities.

Atlas Health Science College offers dental medicine courses from undergraduate to level four programs, with 600 students currently enrolled. The College sent the list of their students to the Authorities last week.

According to General Manager Mohammed Nurhussien, the high entry exam results requirements, coupled with security issues have made private institutions the preferred choice. However, he said the quota limitation set by the Authority that did not take the specific capacity and infrastructure of institutions into consideration had led his institution to operate below capacity.

Since Berhanu Nega took the Ministry of Education, a stringent Exit and Entrance examination process was introduced where 152,014 students scored points to join public universities out of nearly 600,000 students in the past year.

Officials at the Authority have been preparing new standards to replace the former supervision system four months ago, intending to identify the operational institutions and the exact number of their students, according to Cherugeta Genene, inspection, and authentication deputy head.

He said the public should be aware of fraud in private institutions and check the accreditation and duration of the renewal and the allowed method of providing the programmes to their students, such as online, distance, or regular.

In the past year, around 120 private colleges failed to renew accreditation for at least one programme, while others have been found enrolling students in unaccredited courses or moving campuses without informing the Authorities.

Established in 2002, Rift Valley University is a private institution with 48 campuses with four to seven departments. Asfaw Kudama, alumni and registrar directorate head at the University, said they place students in other departments when exceeding the limit.

The managers faced difficulty submitting the required information early from all branches but made it to the deadline. According to Asfaw, the new directive should be implemented from the day of approval as it has caused inconvenience to previous graduates.

According to him, the authorities refuse to validate those who do not have the same academic advancement.

For Tirusew Teferra (Prof.), who has been a lecturer at Addis Abeba University, establishing institutions based on one or few individuals with good profiles catches the attention of many leading to the enrolment of students beyond institutional capacity.

According to Tirusew, the problem is not addressed by short notice and ordinances and should be discussed between the institutions and the officials at the Authority. He believes that the reports saved in a database can identify students looking for document authentication recommending the Authority design a better control mechanism.


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