Finance Driven Reforms in Ethiopian Public Universities: The Cost Sharing Policy and its Implication for Equity

Dejene Niguse Kebede, Hussien Kedir Kelil

Abstract


This study examines the implication of higher education cost sharing policy for equity. Accordingly, its contribution to and influence on equity at access level, at process level and outcome level was examined. The research employed a concurrent embedded Qual-quan Mixed methodology. Data were obtained from MoE, Ethiopian Revenue and Customs’ Authority (ERCA), Universities managements and students, employer organizations and employees using interviews, FGDs and Questionnaire. The qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis while the quantitative data were analysed using One-Way ANOVA, independent t-test, mean, and percentages. Accordingly, the findings revealed that at access level the contribution of the scheme in the entire effort of expanding public universities was assessed using the data from the past five years and the contribution of cost sharing was found very minimal, by contributing less than one per cent of the total budget allocated for expansion of public universities. Similarly, the influence of the scheme in on equity at process level was measured in terms of its impact on deferential academic treatment for needy students as well as its influence on their choice of field of study. The result indicated that the existence of cost sharing didn’t promote about differential academic support for needy students and also it didn’t influence students’ choice of field of study regardless of the difference in the amount to be sharing in different disciplines. At outcome level, the influence of the scheme on graduates further education and job mobility was examined and the result indicated that the existence of cost sharing strongly influence some individuals, who do not have strong financial capacity, not to proceed their further education. Likewise, the scheme affects those who agree to share the cost through rendering service, again if they don’t have financial capacity to pay in cash, not to search for better jobs until they finish their obligation. Thus, at outcome level the scheme is highly promoting and sustaining equity among graduates. Finally, the results indicated that the lack of coordination among the implementing organs such as MoE, ERCA, Universities, and employers is seriously crippling the implementation of the scheme and breading irregularities in its implementation.


Keywords


: Cost Sharing, Finance Driven, Models, Equity, Public Universities

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