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  • Interview Tiffany Hadish

    “I don’t want to have to ask permission to come and see my people, I want to come when I want to come to be with my people”, Actress and Author Tiffanny Hadish

    No introduction needed to who she is. After her first visit last year, the Black Unicorn is back to celebrate the 28th Independence celebrations with her people in Eritrea. Ever since her recent reconnection with her Eritrean heritage, Tiffany has proudly been in-touch with her Eritrean side. Now that she is here to celebrate the biggest and glorious day for Eritreans, she managed to visit a number of places including the historical trenches of Nakfa, where she actually conducted the interview.

    -Welcome back Tiffanny, what new changes have you noticed since your last visit?

    I have seen a lot of things and advancements. For example, the roads to Massawa are not as bumpy as they used to be, it was a smooth and very nice ride. I love the roads to Massawa. I have also noticed more internet cafes which I was excited about, a lot more farmlands, which is really exciting to me, and more livestock. Most of all, the President showed me the amazingly beautiful Dams.

    -You have travelled to a number of places during your stay, how did you enjoy them?

    I have been to Asmara, Massawa, Dihil Island and Nakfa. Dihil is an Island where the Afar ethnicity inhabits. The food was really good and I enjoyed the singing and dancing. I also went to sleep in one of their traditional beds outdoors with the stars and everything, I was just knocked out, and it was so good. It was wonderful. And my most favorite place of all was the hot springs at Mai Wuei. It is a beautiful place; the hot springs have helped me with my knees, which I recently have just hurt.

    -Tiffany, you are here for the independence celebration, how does it make you feel, especially with the peace situation that the country has recently embarked on?

    Coming to Eritrea at the time where it celebrates its independence week, there have been many events I attended which one of them was the carnival. It was so much fun and I am happy that I could be part of it. All our freedom fighters sacrificed their lives to make sure that we have our independence and our own land. Personally, I feel like it’s not recognized enough.

    Now, we are here in Nakfa, the home of the heroes; the freedom fighters. The homes of the people were bombed and had to move away but they took care of the freedom fighters and look out for them. To be walking those trenches and seeing how they were defending their lands with the enemy just steps away, we had these people willing to sacrifice and to be strong. I was going through every emotion at the book. I was feeling every emotion you could feel. I am still feeling it. It is a lot of pain. Still is beautiful. Those trenches are Eritrean version of the Great Wall of China, the great trenches of Eritrea. I saw the trenches and I keep thinking to myself that, would I have done that? Would I have done all the things they did? So my gratitude, I am so grateful that they did that and were willing to sacrifice for the future, for their children and grandchildren. To me it’s a lot; it is a lot of emotions that I am dealing with. I am trying to figure out how to process all of this. I couldn’t imagine how someone could be lived through it and survived. I know it had to hurt tremendously to see someone that you care about die right in front of you and your home blowing up right in front of you. It is a sad situation. And the fact that I didn’t know about it for so long makes me really upset. I don’t understand why they don’t talk about it anywhere else in the world. But the fact that I am here now, and be able to celebrate those people that paid their lives for this, to show gratitude and appreciation, with every one teaming up and staying strong and not giving up, to me is amazing and I am grateful.

    I also got my citizenship here in Eritrea. Signing those papers and getting the validation meant the world to me. That is something my father wanted. I love my father so much and maybe he didn’t get to raise me but he installed enough for me in my blood. He thought me a lot during the time I did get to spend with him. I want to honor him and I just want to be a good daughter. I want to help my family who still live here and want to do good things for them. I always had to ask permission to come and see my family and people but I don’t like that I had to ask permission to see my family. Now I got my citizenship and I can come and see my family when I want to see my family. I don’t want to have to ask permission to come see my people.

    -Before we conclude our interview, would you please share with us what you have been up to since your last visit?

    Well, I started my own productions, the she ready productions. I am putting together TV shows and movies. One of my goals is to come here and make some movies and take the opportunity to give them good line of movies and really get it out in the world. To make sure the world can see how beautiful the people and Eritrea is. We got great stories to tell that the world needs to know about. I also got cartoons coming out. My goal is to one day own my own studio so that people who work with me have a generational wealth.

    -Well thank you for having us, before we say our good byes, do you have anything to say?

    I am so happy my daddy was born here because now I have a place to go, as a citizen of Eritrea, I am happy to be home and I can’t wait to keep coming back home and learning more and more to share with the world. The world needs to know how amazing this place is.

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  • Investment on Human Capital

    Eritrean Profile

    Dr. Tedros Siuem, PhD in Comparative Education

    Welcome back, Dr. Tedros.Would you please tell us about your research paper?

    The paper I did had to do with my previous experience, I worked as a teacher for many years and just before I got the opportunity to do my PhD in comparative education at Hong Kong University, I had been working as the director of HRD at the Ministry of Education. As an individual, I had limited understanding of what can be the meaning and outcomes of educational opportunities. People view it as simple as expansion of schools. However, it is not. Just because we have we think that we are thriving on the educational standard of the country. So my study focused on the educational opportunity of our country and its outcomes. On my paper, The Quest for Social Justice In Eritrea: Challenges in the Domains of Equal Opportunities and Outcomes in Education, I tried to view different angles of challenges hat we may consider and how they pressure the outcomes on the students’ educational skills. In this process, all the government officials, families and community should work towards the advancement of not only quality but also equity of education. In Eritrea, social justice is the cornerstone of the development strategy of the Eritrean society including education.
    What was your time like in Hong Kong?
    Hong Kong University is one by giving to more students the chance we had. Again, I think that the tools in our laboratories should be updated so that we can get to the level the advanced universities and colleges are. I believe that is an essential add up to the educational standard of the engineering department.

    Mussie Sebhatleab, Master’s in International Public Administration

    How did you get into International Public Administration?

    Actually, my first degree was in political science and history. However, I was presented with the opportunity to get to the public administration in China and I couldn’t turn that down even though it was different from my educational background and I knew it was going to be a bit difficult. Also because it had been more than ten years before I
    was offered the scholarship. I was a way from studying. Still, it was an interesting and important field of study..
    Any last few words to our readers?
    Well, what the government is doing by providing scholarships to students is impressive. And I would like to say that the number of opportunities that are given should be expanded. So far, around 1100 students joined Chinese universities. This is a great contribution in all the departments. of the best universities in China. What I learnt there is that it doesn’t necessarily mean that you only get education from your teacher. As a matter of fact, that is only limiting. I got the opportunity to participate in many conferences and had the chance to see the schools and their teaching methods, which was very helpful. I even had the chance to go to participate at a conference in
    Canada on comparative education related to my studies. This means I had a chance to share my thoughts and ideas with people from various parts of the world.
    Now that we are here, we all have to find a better way to implement the researche we did on the ground. In every aspect we had the chance to study.

    Dr. Halima Mohhomed, PhD in English Language

    Would you please introduce yourself?

    I came from families who are farmers. With the war, my family and I went to join the armed struggle, and I grew up at the fields in the school of revolution. I became a teacher at the field. After independence, I took my matriculation exams and joined Asmara University and graduated from the Accounting Departmentwith a diploma. To your surprise, I was pregnant with my fist child at that time which was challenging at times since I had to walk on the stairs for some of my classes. After my diploma from the university, I got my advanced certificate on Training of trainers in England. After I got my certificate, I worked as the department head at the TTI College, and I was teaching English language teachers. In 98, I got the chance to do my Masters at the London University in Linguistics. Recently, I did my PhD in English from Ahfar University for Women in Khartoum.My paper was about the language policy of education in Eritrea, the benefits and disadvantages of the different language usages in different levels in the country.
    You said you are a mother of four. How did you manage to accomplish all these?

    All these years, I followed my educational dream while having kids and support my family. One thing I want to say, I am grateful to my husband. I had his full support all these years. He encouraged me to continue my education through whatever means since we share the educational dream. Of course, the base is that I was willing and had the dream to be educated. My husband did his masters as well after I did mine. I believe that an educated mother is a strong bone to an advanced society. Some people have the idea that if a woman is more educated than men she would have the attitude to look down at her man; but it is the opposite. If a woman is educated, she has a much broader ability to view from different dimensions and is more undertanding and supportive.

    Frezghi Tesfom, Master’s in Mechatronics

    Hello, Frezghi. How was China?
    It was a great experience. Huazhong University is one of the best universities in China. It has thousands of students from different races and cultures. It was enlightening in so many ways.
    How about their teaching methods, were there any challenges for you?
    Well, one of the things which we can consider as a challenge was that as we have the lack of lab tools here, it was difficult for us to cope with the updated lab tools we were provided at the university. We really did make a tremendous effort to make it. Other than that, it was hectic. Also, the teachers sometimes gave the lectures in their
    language, which made it harder. Nonetheless, the Government has been making a tremendous effort to connect students to some of the best universities over the years.
    Being part of the students who were presented with that prospect, we had to work hard to take every bit of chance we had and put it to good use. Now that we are here, I hope to work and share the experience and education I had with students in the same filed. That is the way it is supposed to be. We should pay back to our community. These type of scholarship connections should go on in a broader wayby giving to more students the chance we had. Again, I think that the tools in our laboratories should be updated so that we can get to the level the advanced universities and colleges are. I believe that is an essential add up to the educational standard of the engineering department.


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  • Way Forward : Eritrea’s Post Gradua Education

    The National Higher Education and Research Institutions(NHERI) has been the lead facilitator of post graduate education that has been offered inside the country and abroad. Last week, on 21st of April, 31 students who have been attending post graduate studies through distance education were graduated in an event held at Asmara University.The graduates have been attending courses at master’s level in the fields of Business Administration, Finance and Controlling, Human Resources Management, Global Development Economics, Political Science and Empowerment, Information Security Management as well as Business Leadership. The courses were provided by the University of South Africa (UNISA) and Swiss Management Center(SMC) University. But, how is the post graduate education progressing? Howis the academic performance of post graduate students? What are the future plans of the NHERI? How is the partnership of the NHERI with other institutions of higher education developing? Prof. Zemenfes Tsighe, Director of Bureau of Higher Education Administration and International Linkages shares views with Eritrea Profile.

    The National Higher Education and Research Institute has always been exerting efforts to develop its human resources not only for the institutions of higher education but also for the sector ministries. We adopted three avenues of human resources development by opening both undergraduate and post graduate programs in Eritrea and by sending students abroad. We send students abroad for the programs for which we do not have at home. If we have a post graduate program at home, then the students will follow their studies inside the country. The third is through distance education. These are the three modalities that we have been using to develop our human resources. Prof. Zemenfes elaborated.

    As regards the long term plans of the NHERI Prof. Zemenfes said as follows:
    The long term plan is, as far as possible, to give training at master’s level inside the country, and progressively we will move towards giving training at PHD level. The PHD level training is the very long term vision of the NHERI. We have been working on the Master’s programs and we are trying to expand the kind of programs that we will offer in the post graduate studies.

    We have a number of post graduate studies at the present time. At the Eritrea Institute of Technology (EIT) we have post graduate studies in four fields at master’s level, at Hamelmalo Agricultural College we have five post graduate programs, at Adi-Keyih College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) we have one post graduate program but we might start second and third programs in September. In Asmara College of Health Sciences, we have three post graduate programs in Midwifery, Anastasia and in Pharmacy. These are the currently running post graduate programs inside the country.

    Some of the programs started three or four years back and some of them started last year. But, there is quite substantial number of students who have graduated from these programs and who are also pursuing their studies.

    The main advantage of the in country post graduate programs is relevance of curriculum. The curriculum is designed to serve the interest of the country. When students are sent to study abroad they have to fit into different curriculum. What is more, the cost of education is very low when compared to the cost of post graduate studies at master’s level abroad. The cost here at home is much lower than the cost outside the country. If a student is sent for master’s degree abroad, the average cost will be around 30,000 USD. Here in the country, it usually ranges between 17,000 and 18,000. So, there is a considerable saving in the cost of education.

    As regards the benefits of providing post graduate education inside the country,Prof.Zemenfes said “We can monitor the quality of education that is provided to the post graduate students. We do not have any control on the curriculum and quality of education given by universities outside the country. But, we can ensure the quality of education given here. Another advantage is that these students will do researches related to Eritrean problems. Hence, these researches do have an added value for they can contribute towards the solution of the problems. Because of these advantages, our plan is to expand post graduate studies at home and the NHERE is working in that respect.”

    Second avenue is sending students abroad. Students have been sent abroad intended for higher studies for the last 10 years and up to now more than 600 students have been offered a chance to study abroad both at master’s and PHD levels. “In this year, the coming September, we will be sending the highest number of students to study abroad. More than 100 students will go abroad for their post graduate studies. Some of the studies are full scholarship and some of them are partial scholarship.” Prof. Zemenfes noted.

    The Eritrean Government supports the students in many ways.For instance, if the stipend that the scholarship granting university gives is low, then the Government tops up that salary. The amount of money that the Government of Eritrea spends on such cases is very huge. The Government’s contribution towards the post graduate studies is quite extensive. The payment is in hard currency so you can imagine the burden the Government shoulders in this case.

    Also according to Prof. Zemenfes, students have been sent to African and European universities, to the US and in Asia to India, China, Japan, and South Korea. Students go to a number of countries depending on the scholarships they get. When they go for higher studies, they sign a legal contract with the NHERI and according to that legal contract every person who goes abroad for study is required to provide two years of service for every one year of training abroad. If the master’s program takes two year, the student is required to come back and serve for four years. If the student fails to do so, the full cost of the scholarship should be paid back. But, we have not yet started to implement the legal contract up to now but definitely there will be a time to do so. People who failed to meet their responsibility will be held accountable based on the legal contract.

    Eritrea has been developing partnership with different universities and institutions, to name; Finish universities,African universities like Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Indian universities like the University of New Delhi and so on. Linkages have been created with universities in Italy and the UK and also with some universities in the US. Until now the country has developed more than 30 linkage partnerships. But, it does not mean that all these linkages are very active. New partnerships have also been created with Chinese and Russian universities. So, partnership and training is dynamic and a continuous activity. For instance, this year Eritrea started a relationship with Hungary and also signed a memorandum of understanding.
    The partnership is not limited to training and education in the post graduate studies only. In some cases joint researches that involve scientist from Eritrea and scientists from the partner institutions have been carried out. Sometimes there is staff exchange. Eritrean academics go and teach in the partner institutions and professors from the partner institutions come to Eritrea and teach in Eritrean institutions of higher education. “In some of the relationships we also exchange educational resources particularly digital ones. We get a lot of educational and digital resources from our partners. Sometimes they make their digital libraries accessible to Eritrean students and to Eritrean researchers. So, the focus and objective of the partnership varies from one partnership linkage to another.” Prof. Zemenfes explained.

    Reinforcement of linkage Reinforcement of linkages with institutions of higher education both inside and outside the country is among the areas of activities of the NHERI. In this regard, Prof. Zemenfes clarified saying:
    We also encourage our colleges to develop linkage partnerships independently. Some of the colleges have already done this. The reason why we encourage these linkages is that because we get a lot of benefits from sharing experiences and exchange of staff. People who come from other universities will look at our curriculum and help us in revising and improving our curriculum. They also provide us access to their laboratories and libraries. They also create pressure on our institutions to maintain the quality of education and also train our young staff. For this reason, we always try to promote and strengthen our partnership with the institutions outside the country.

    In terms of performance our students perform very well. They perform very well while studying at home and when they go abroad.Actually in many cases our students do excel. The report we get from most of the universities is quite encouraging. Some
    Eritreans have made a name because of their excellence in their academic career. The reason for why many countries have been offering more and more scholarships every year like those offered by china is because of the excellence of the Eritrean students. There are few who decide to quit their studies not for academic performance but for other personal reasons.

    “To the best of my recollection out the 600 student we have sent abroad only one student was expelled not for academic reasons but for misconduct. Their grades are excellent. They are always at the top. Because they perform well at the master’s level, the universities grant them the opportunity for PHD. This tells us the quality of education we give here at the undergraduate level is comparable to the quality of education that is offered in the other universities,” Prof. Zemenfes affirmed.

    The impact that these people could make is significant. In the long term, if we continue at this rate, there will come a time when most of the institutions of higher education will be staffed by Eritreans and our dependence on expatriate staff will be minimized. The commitment of our Eritrean professionals is quite high. Because they feel responsible and that responsibility is important for the kind of commitment they have. So commitment, responsibility, professional integrity and professional ethics are reflected in our staff.

    Those who go to the ministries assume different positions. They are engaged in the formulation of ministerial plans, policy making and they are engaged in researches. Thus, the contributions they make to the country’s development programs are significant. That is why the Government takes human resources development at the center stage for the overall development of the country.

    “The pace of development will depend on quality of our people, and the quality of our people depends on the kind of education we provide. The more we invest in education and the better quality we provide, the better contribution will be towards the socio economic development of the country.” Prof. Zemenfes underscores.

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