Amare Assefa presented at the ICAREED-24 conference in the USA

16th January, 2024

CESET member Amare Assefa from Addis Ababa University presented a research entitled “A Survey of Energy Technology Graduate Program and graduate’s Experience with perspective on  community energy: Ethiopia Case” at the ICAREED-24 conference. ICAREED-24 took place 11 th - 12 th January 2024 in Washington DC, USA. It brought together researchers, educators, and practitioners from around the world to discuss the latest developments and challenges in the application of renewable energy and environmental development. Higher education is believed to shape the present and carve the future of a nation on securing individual growth, sustainable growth, societal progress, and economic development. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ratified that higher education is an instrumental key to the socio-economic and political development of the country . Engineering education is one of the key player in producing skilled human resources for social and economic development for every society of the Nation.

In Ethiopia's context the higher education takes a foot step on December 1950 when Emperor Haile Sellassie I University college the current Addis Ababa University admit less than 80 students from three secondary schools at national level. Currently more than full-fledged 55 public and five private universities are operational with 306 registered private higher education institutions. There are 10 Institute of Technologies (IOT) and universities with College of Engineering fully engaged in engineering education. The masters program on energy-related topic is considered as the lowest compared to other engineering programs. There are only 4 fully-fledged energy programs at the MSc level in four IOTs from 55 public universities. These are the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar Institute of Technology, Jimma Institute of Technology and Ethiopian Institute of Technology - Mekelle (EITM). 

The questioners are distributed via Google spread-sheet whereas interviews are conducted both physically and via online platforms like zoom, Google Meet and the like. The main objective is to collect an overview of energy technology graduates' educational background and work experience after graduation. One of the major issues on all IoT is there is an acute shortage of professors who have specialized in the renewable and energy-related topics to provide lectures in each IoT, all the IoT share staff members as a guest professor. It has been observed that the IoT facility has a lack of laboratory facility dedicated to post graduate students.

Among the respondents, 71% of graduates from energy-related master’s programs are currently working in universities as lecturers. The others are working in position which are not related to
their specialization and only 4 % of them are working in the field directly related to their study. Among the respondents, 53.6 % did not have a chance to meet a rural population who is in need of renewable energy technologies, whereas 46.4% had a chance to visit a rural population in need and they have pointed out that like lack of awareness, lack of finance, lack of infrastructures and substandard materials in the market are taking the lion share for having low community based energy system in the rural population. 

Ethiopia, is a land locked country located in the horn of Africa with a total land mass of 1.1 million square kilometers and an estimated population of 123.4 million in 2022. According to the World Bank, the electrification rate in Ethiopia is 54.2% as of 2021. This means that 45.8% of the population still does not have access to electricity. From detailed interviews and questionnaire  responses, the postgraduate program on energy-related topics requires curriculum revision and policy change to bring graduates in energy technology-related study into the market where they can solve community energy and electrification of 45.8 % of the population.