Social Justice in Public Higher Education Institutions in Ethiopia: Gender, Socioeconomic Status and Student Satisfaction in Focus
The major purpose of this research was to assess how fair and just the services of selected public higher education intuitions in Ethiopia are. In order to carry out the study, four major questions were formulated. Based on these research questions, data were collected from randomly selected 335 undergraduate students in five universities. Besides, secondary data were collected from relevant documents. The study employed a cross-sectional survey study design where data were concurrently collected from junior through senior undergraduate students in five universities. The findings showed that female students were about 35% of the 788,033 undergraduate students who were enrolled for the 2016/17 academic year, in which case gender parity was not yet achieved in public higher education institutions in Ethiopia. Second, the enrollment of female students in public higher education institutions increased from 20.36% in 2003 to 35% in 2017 which might require long years before achieving gender parity. Third, access to higher education institutions in Ethiopia reached nearly 10% of the overall Ethiopian post-secondary age population. Fourth, about 43% of the undergraduate students reported that they come from the rural background indicating available opportunity of higher education although the majority did not yet benefit out of it especially in the emerging regional states. Fifth, about 27.5% of the respondents reported that they were not feeling free in expressing their views in the classroom. There was a statistically significant difference in the proportion of males (24.6%) and females (36.8%) who reported that they were not comfortable in expressing their views freely in class (X2=4.36, DF=1, p<.05). With regard to the satisfaction of students, about 63.9% said they were satisfied with the university services they received while the remaining 36.1% said they were not. Results were discussed and recommendations were highlighted for a consideration by stakeholders and policymakers.
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