U.S. Project that Prepares University Graduates for Workplace Launched

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Addis Ababa ENA September 23/2019 A 2-million-USD project, which is meant to support Ethiopia’s existing gaps between the skill sets of university students and the demands of the job market they will face after graduation, was announced today.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Save the Children and Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced the 2 million USD institutional capacity development support for Ethiopian higher education institutions through USAID’s Building the Potential of Youth Activity (POTENTIAL), a five-year project implemented by Save the Children, according to a US Embassy press release.

It added that Director of USAID’s Education and Youth office, Sonjai Reynolds-Cooper said during the launching, “We believe investing in education is one of the best investments we can all make, as this initiative will support Ethiopia’s journey to self-reliance in line with the country’s education system reforms.”

Through this initiative, the partner universities and TVET colleges will be able to produce graduates with market relevant skills and experiences, it was learned.

The initiative will partner with Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Jigjiga, Jimma, Mekelle, and Semera universities to equip graduates with the skills necessary to pursue and land appropriate job opportunities.

The capacity building will reportedly focus on high-order thinking skills, positive self-concepts, self-control and social skills to strengthen graduates employability.

The activity will facilitate learning exchanges between universities at the national level as well as cross (inter) institutional peer exchanges, while also developing a digital platform to link employers with educational institutes.

The six partner universities will in turn, create partnerships with Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions (TVET) in their geographic regions to address skills mismatches, improve graduates’ employability and create partnerships with the private sector and potential employers.

Brandeis University from Massachusetts, USA, will provide technical support during the implementation of this initiative in partnership with Save the Children.

According to the press release, the United States has long been one of the leading investors in Ethiopia’s education system and works with a range of partners to support the educational achievement of 15 million Ethiopian children.

It is also the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia and has invested more than 3.5 billion USD in development and humanitarian assistance over the past five years.