Social Justice in Public Higher Education Institutions in Ethiopia: Gender, Socioeconomic Status and Student Satisfaction in Focus


  • Wanna Leka Associate Professor, Institute of Educational Research
  • Belay Hagos Associate Professor, Institute of Educational Research
  • Girma Zewdie Associate Professor, College of Education and Behavioral Studies


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