Ethiopian Higher Education Expansion and Persisting Challenges: A Systematic Review


  • Zelalem Zekarias Oliso Arba Minch University


Quality Education; Higher Education Expansion; Quality Assurance; Service Quality; Ethiopian Higher Education


Quality higher education plays a significant role in socio-economic development of a nation. Education service quality is one of the important parameters to measure the quality of higher education. The main purpose of this study was conducted to examine the persisting challenges in Ethiopian higher education. To this end, a qualitative research approach was followed. The data for the study were collected via document analysis, focus group discussions and interviews. A total of 89 research papers written on the Ethiopian higher education expansion and its quality was thoroughly reviewed. During the reviewing process, various government policy documents, peer reviewed articles, PhD dissertations, and empirical studies were consulted. The findings of the study revealed that even though different quality improvement programmes have been established to control the quality of Ethiopian higher education, those efforts brought low impact on the country’s higher education quality. The shortage of experienced teachers, insufficient supplies of academic resources such as Information Communication Technology [ICT] infrastructure, library facilities, laboratory and workshop equipment, poor dormitory services, lack of adequate classrooms are still persisting challenges of most Ethiopian higher education. It was, therefore, concluded that most Ethiopian higher education institutions provide poor service delivery to students. Based on these findings and conclusions, recommendations were forwarded.


Abebaw Yirga & Aster M. (2012). Quality Assurance in Ethiopian Higher Education: Procedures

and Practices, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol.69, pp. 838 – 846.

Abeya Geleta. (2014). Quality Assurance Policy and Practice in Higher Education Institutions

in Ethiopia, Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of South Africa.

Al-Dulaimi, Z.Y.S. (2016). Education, Educational Services and their Quality, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 4 (1), pp. 58-66.

Alemayehu Bishaw & Solomon Melesse. (2017). Historical Analysis of the Challenges and Opportunities of Higher Education in Ethiopia, Higher Education for the Future, Vol.4(1), pp.31–43.

Ashcroft, K. (2004). The Massification of Higher Education: A Comparison of the UK

Experience and The Emerging Ethiopian Response, The Ethiopian Journal of Higher

Education, Vol.1 (1).

Brochado, A. (2009). Comparing Alternative Instruments to Measure Service Quality in Higher Education, Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 17 (2), pp.174-190.

Chandra,T., Ng, M., Chandra,S. &Priyono. (2018). The Effect of Service Quality on Student Satisfaction and Student Loyalty: An Empirical Study, Journal of Social Studies Education Research, Vol.9(3), pp.109-131.

Đonlagić, S. & Fazlić, S. (2015). Quality Assessment in Higher Education Using the

SERVQUAL Model, Management, Vol. 20 (1), pp. 39-57.

Girum Melese.(2017). Effect of Service Quality on Student Satisfaction in Private Higher Education Institutions in Addis Ababa, Unpublished MA Thesis, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

HabtamuW. (2003), ‘Ethiopia,’ in D. Teferra, P. Altbach, eds., African Higher Education: An

International Reference Handbook, Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.

Hanaysha, J. R. M., Abdullah, F., H. H., &Warokka, A. (2011). Service Quality and Students' Satisfaction at Higher Learning Institutions: The Competing Dimensions of Malaysian Universities' Competitiveness, Journal of Southeast Asian Research, pp.1-10.

Hasbullah, A. &Yusoff, W. (2017). A Framework Study of Service Quality on Higher Education Institution (HEI) Facilities Services in Indonesia, the Social Sciences, Vol.12 (6), pp.925-930.

Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency. (HERQA, 2006a). Areas of Focus for

Institutional Quality Audits, Unpublished Document, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Kedir Assefa. (2009). The Unfolding Trends and Consequences of Expanding Higher Education in Ethiopia: Massive Universities, Massive Challenges, Higher Education Quarterly, Vol. 63 (1), pp. 29–45.

Kontic, L. (2014). Measuring Service Quality in Higher Education: The Case of Serbia, International Research Conference, Portoroz, Slovenia.

Ministry of Education [MoE] .(2018). Ethiopian Education Development Road Map (2018-30), Unpublished Draft for Discussion, Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

Ministry of Education [MoE]. (2005). Education Sector Development Programmeme III (ESDPIII): Programmeme Action Plan. Addis Ababa: Ministry of Education, Education Management Information System Department

Ministry of Education [MoE]. (2015). Education Sector Development Programmeme V (ESDP V), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ministry of Education [MoE]. (2016). Education Statistics Annual Abstract. Addis Ababa: EMIS.

Misgana Teshome. (2013). Assessment of The Implementation of Higher Education Quality

Assurance Guidelines in Public Universities in Ethiopia, Unpublished PhD

Dissertation, The Catholic University of Eastern Africa

Mulu Nega. (2012). Quality and Quality Assurance in Ethiopian Higher Education: Critical Issues and Practical Implications, Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of Twente.

Rediet Tesfaye. (2015). Expanding quality assurance in Ethiopian Higher Education, Working Papers in Higher Education Studies, Vol.1(2), pp.20-42.

Reisberg, L.&Rumbley, L.E. (2010). Ethiopia: The Dilemmas of Higher Education Expansion, International Higher Education

Saint, W. (2004). Higher Education in Ethiopia: The Vision and Its Challenges, JHEA/RESA

Vol. 2 (3), pp.83–113.

Schuller, D., Rašticova, M., Konečny, S. (2013). Measuring Student Satisfaction with the Quality of Services Offered by Universities: Central European View, ActaUniversitatisAgriculturae Et SilviculturaeMendelianaeBrunensis, Vol. LXI ( 4).

Solomon Lemma. (2012). Stakeholder Perceptions of Service Quality Improvement in Ethiopian Public Higher Education Institutions, Unpublished PhD Dissertation in Educational Management, UNISA.

Sultan, P. & Wong, H. Y. (2012). Service Quality in a Higher Education Context: An Integrated Model, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 24(5), pp. 755-784

Tesfaye Teshome & Kassahun Kebede. (2009). Quality Assurance for Enhancement of Higher Education in Ethiopia: Challenges and Lessons Learned, 10thbiennial INQAAHE Conference, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Tesfaye,Semela. (2011). ‘Breakneck Expansion and Quality Assurance in Ethiopian Higher

Education: Ideological Rationales and Economic Impediments.’ Higher Education Policy, Vol. 24, 3, pp. 399-425.

TeshomeYizengaw. (2007). The Ethiopian Higher Education: Creating Space for Reform, Addis Ababa: St. Mary’s UC Printing Press

Uka, A. (2014). Student Satisfaction as an Indicator of Quality in Higher Education, Journal of Educational and Instructional Studies in the World, Vol. 4 (3).

World Bank [WB]. (2009). Accelerating Catch-Up, Tertiary Education for Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, Washington, DC

World Bank [WB]. (2017). Higher Education for Development: An Evaluation of the World

Bank Group’s Support, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Washington, DC.




How to Cite

Oliso, Z. Z. (2023). Ethiopian Higher Education Expansion and Persisting Challenges: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Educational Review, 5(1), 11–20. Retrieved from