By Teklu Tafase Olkaba1, Prof. Johannes Seroto (contributor)2

1. Jimma University 2. University of South Africa, Department of Educational Foundations

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The impact of globalisation on higher education institution policies and government development policies are emerging issues among researchers and policy makers.  Therefore, thisstudy investigated the extent of Ethiopian universities in responding to the demands and realities of the local and global knowledge economy. The study explored a range of literature on globalization policy and its impact on higher education operations. Furthermore, the study explored the development trends of Ethiopian higher education within different national development policies with regard to the difference made in the current global knowledge economy. Based on the literature review, the empirical study examined realities of understanding in Ethiopian higher education and its institutional policy responsiveness to the current local and global knowledge economy. A mixed method research design was employed to generate empirical data. Six established universities were purposively selected for the study. From these universities 289 postgraduate students and 256 senior staff from the ranks of lecturer, assistant professor and associate professor were involved in the study. The findings of the study conclude that in the global knowledge economy, the role of higher education and nature of universities within it requires a change in policies and practices and systems, with respect to local and global contexts towards the creation of a distinctly new global model of higher education. The empirical study illustrates that responsiveness of Ethiopia higher education expansion and graduate mix policies formulated for local knowledge demand have brought a tremendous increase in enrollments withina short period of time. Graduate mix policy, curriculum standardization and the Bologna process are among the new reform policies endorsed in Ethiopian higher education. Further, findings of empirical study confirm poor responsive policies in research and innovation, socio-economic transformation, programme quality and graduate employment opportunities with regard to the current global knowledge economy. The study concludes that there is a wide policy gap in Ethiopian universities in knowledge production and dissemination in research and innovation which are required to respond to the demands and realities of local and global knowledge economy. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations are made and a model of higher education policy formulation is proposed for policy makers and higher education institutions.


The long journey of my doctoral research is now at an end. This journey could not have been completed without the support of several people to whom I owe special thanks.I therefore, would like to express my gratitude to those persons and institutions involved in this particular study. 

First and for the most, I am honored and indebted to my research supervisor, Professor Johannes Seroto for his unreserved support, invaluable advice and scholarly guidance, commitment and inspiration throughout the work of this thesis. I am greatly indebted to Professor Johannes Seroto for his expertise, timely and critical comments and wisdom and enormous support from the beginning to the end of my doctoral study. The devotion of his time including weekends and holidays to provide me all the necessary support via e‐mail is unforgettable.

I would like to thank Prof Carol Jansen for her critical and constructive comments in shaping the preliminary edition of some of the chapters of this thesis and putting my study into perspective. Special thanks due to Professor EM Lemmer for critical reading and final editing of this thesis and Mrs Magda Botha for technical layout and formatting of this thesis. I am very much indebted to UNISA’s postgraduate bursary directorate for financial assistance for my research trip.

 I would also like to extend my gratitude to academic staff and postgraduate students of Addis Ababa University, Bahir Dar University, Haramaya University, Hawassa University, Jimma University and Mekelle University who participated in my study, sacrificing their time in responding to questionnaires and participation in focus group discussions. Special grateful to my sampled Universities staff members: Dr. Dawit Legesse, Dr.Abeya Geleta,  Dr.Mengistu Haile, Mr.Dereje Taye, Mr.Tadesse Regassa, Mr.Wokgari Tasisa,Mr.Debebe Worku and Mr.Ashenafi Asefa for their unreserved support  and professional guidance during the entire data collection processes. 

 I would like to thank Mr. Zewdu G/kidan for his critical and constructive support in statistical application. The devotion of his time to provide me all necessary support in SPSS application is unforgettable. 

I am very grateful to Dr. Kitessa Chemeda, Academic Vice President of Mettu University for his dedication in shouldering all matters pertaining to my study in the last three years. He also provided me with the wisdom, confidence and courage to complete my doctoral study.

I will be forever indebted to senior staff members of Mettu University and research scholars: Dr. Tekalign Minalu, Mr.Belete Damtew, Mr. Tekalign Kejela, Mr. Bedilu Teka, Mr. Geleta Merera, Mr.Solomon Tadesse, and Mr .Abdulfata Nasha  for sharing the strength of their vision with me during my doctoral journey. 

I am very much grateful to all my former staffs in research and community service directorate of Mettu University, whom I owe special thanks. Special gratitude goes to Mr.Solomon Yeshaneh,Mulugeta Tilahun and Mustefa Bati  for their follow up and encouragement in all my journeys  of doctoral studies  in one way or another from the inception to the final completion. They always stood by me during the difficult time and gave me the strength and courage to overcome the challenges of my study from internal and external barriers.

Administrative staffs of Mettu University: Mr.Manaye Demeke, Mr.Amanuel Uma, Mr. Daniel Emiru,Mrs. Damme Beyene, Mrs. Hanna Deribe, Mrs. Firehiwat Asnake, Mrs. Tarikuwa Tamiru and Ms. Mintamir Wandefraw  also deserve special thanks for facilitating my research trips and continuous support.

Finally, a special remark: I could not have realized my dreams without the emotional support and unwavering love of my wife and parents. I am grateful to my wife, Bijigdu Kebede, for her devotion and moral support to pursue my study. She always stood by me during the difficult time and gave me the strength and courage to overcome the challenges of my study. I am also grateful to my son, Bekam Teklu, for his understanding, patience and for allowing me without complaint time to devote to my studies. I am also indebted to Aster Mitiku for keeping my son while I was out of the home.

I would also like to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to my parents, Tafase Olkaba, Shashwork Negasa, Shashitu Regessa, Kebede Dufera, Takele Tafesse, Kabana Tafesse,Gutama Kebede, Ribca Kebede and Destaye Kebede for continuous support in one way or another until the completion of this study.

Teklu Tafase Olkaba
January 2016



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