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International Review of Education

, Volume 62, Issue 6, pp 791–813 | Cite as

The role of Ethiopia’s public universities in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

  • Paul O’Keeffe
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

In recent years, the Ethiopian government has embarked on an ambitious agriculture development strategy aimed at raising Ethiopia to the status of a middle-income-level country by 2025. Encouraged by the international development push behind the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the rapid expansion of public universities has taken centre stage in facilitating the country’s aim of equipping a new generation with the expertise needed to fuel the country’s economic development. While impressive strides have been made over the last two decades, various development challenges threaten to derail this promising progress. This article examines three of the main challenges – urbanisation, climate change and food security – and the potential for universities to address them. Based on a study using key informant analysis research with 50 experts in Ethiopian education and development, the author concludes that the developing public university system offers promising capabilities to assist the country on its developmental path despite many inherent problems.

Keywords

universities Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agriculture Development-Led Industrialisation (ADLI) urbanisation climate change food security 

Résumé

Rôle des universités publiques d’Éthiopie dans la réalisation des Objectifs de développement durable des Nations Unies – Au cours des dernières années, le gouvernement éthiopien a lancé une stratégie ambitieuse de développement agricole visant à hausser l’Éthiopie au rang de pays à revenu intermédiaire d’ici à 2025. Favorisée par l’élan international de développement insufflé par les Objectifs de développement durable (ODD) des Nations Unies, l’expansion rapide des universités publiques est d’une importance centrale pour servir l’ambition du pays de doter une nouvelle génération de l’expertise nécessaire pour alimenter le développement économique du pays. Si des progrès impressionnants ont été réalisés au cours des deux dernières décennies, divers défis au développement menacent de faire échouer ces avancées encourageantes. Le présent article analyse trois des défis majeurs – urbanisation, changement climatique et sécurité alimentaire – ainsi que le potentiel des universités de s’y atteler. À partir d’une étude fondée sur l’analyse scientifique des intervenants clés impliquant 50 experts éthiopiens en éducation et développement, l’auteur conclut que le système universitaire public en expansion possède des capacités prometteuses de soutenir le pays sur la voie de son développement, en dépit de nombreux problèmes intrinsèques.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Science FacultyLa Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Jamiya ProjectBrusselsBelgium

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