The Curriculum Development Process of the New Engineering Education Program and Its Practices in Ethiopia: The Case of Three Higher Engineering Education Institutions

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Addis Ababa University


The overall aim of this dissertation is to contribute to the improvement of the engineering curriculum development and engineering students’ learning in Ethiopia by utilizing both theoretical and empirical enquiry. The study tried to provide insights into the major processes and factors that influence engineering curriculum development and its implementation process in general and investigates the impact of the curriculum development and implementation process on the quality of engineering education and students’ learning, from the perspectives of stake holders. The study is undertaken within three engineering higher education institutions. The research tried to provide answers for the following four research questions. (1) Why was the engineering curriculum change initiated? And how was it developed? (2) How do deans, teachers and students view and describe engineering curriculum and the congruency between engineering curriculum implementation and curriculum expectations? (3) What are the factors that influenced engineering curriculum development? (4) How do stakeholders assess their involvement in engineering curriculum design process and in its relevance? What are their present understanding of the new engineering graduates in terms of their possession of engineering knowledge, skills and competencies? A qualitative multiple-case study design was employed to undertake the study. Primary data were collected from purposely selected engineering teachers, students, industry personnel, and experts from the MoE using in-depth interview and focus group discussion methods. Document analysis was also used as a source for secondary data. The data collected from the different sources were analyzed using an inductive thematic analysis method based on inductive category development procedure. The findings of the study revealed that the reform in engineering education and its curriculum development was driven by economic interest, which was expressed in terms of producing skilled human resource that would work in industry and boost its productivity. The idea of the reform and the curriculum development process was a top-down process initiated by the ECBP under the leadership of MoCB. Teachers’ participation in the curriculum development process was initially one of learning from the ECBP and organizing it in the curriculum; not in decision making. Industry’s involvement in engineering curriculum matters was found to be occasional and not in a way it puts significant impact on curricular decisions. Curriculum implementation which involves teaching, learning, and assessment, was knotted with multiple problems of: poor dissemination of the ideas of the reformed curricula, dissatisfied teaching staff and teachers absenteeism, teaching and learning crippled with shortage of resources, shallow students’ learning, and pseudo assessment mechanism. Based on the findings of the study, a number of recommendations are forwarded to improve engineering curriculum development and students’ learning which include the need for more participation of stakeholders in the process of curriculum development, the necessity of creating more awareness and understanding of the changes in curriculum within the engineering teaching staff, the need for more and continuous training of engineering teachers to update and improve their teaching and assessment skills abreast their engineering profession. The need for the development of educational policies that support the alignment of engineering teaching with assessment, and finally areas for further theoretical research and empirical enquiry are also suggested to support the improvement of the engineering teaching and learning development within the engineering and technology institutions in Ethiopia. __________ Key words: Engineering curriculum, curriculum development, engineering teaching, qualitative research.



Engineering curriculum, curriculum development, engineering teaching, qualitative research.