The Student Union Council of Government Universities of Ethiopia had their 32th regular conference from December 30-31, 2017 at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. The two-day conference was organized by AASTU in collaboration with the Student Union council of the Government Universities of Ethiopia.The aim was centered around promoting initiatives that work towards peace and rights for all beings and on quality education. The University Student Council Union Conference aimed to enhance mutual understanding among them and to deepen peaceful education in their respective universities.
H.E. Dr. Tilaye Getie, Minister of Ministry of Education, chaired the whole session of the conference attended by 300 students from different universities of the country. The Minister said, “There must be well-defined eligibilities for candidates wishing to be part of student unions.” He also added that the questions of student unions and politics should be approached very cautiously, as this may expose students to violent groups. He added that, there was a need for government to prioritize university students in all its polices and initiatives. Finally he remarks “We need structural changes in our system to make our education activities more nonviolent.”.
The session on teaching learning situations in Ethiopian universities was addressed by H.E. Dr. Samuel Kifle, State Minister of Ministry of Education. He said all University education stakeholders must work hand in hand to make the education more peaceful.
Dr. Nurelegne Tefera, President of Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, highlighted the key role that the student union council plays in promoting and building peace in the country. In his remarks, he encouraged the students to experience and immerses them with unity in order to appreciate the diversity and to foster understanding, tolerance and peace. Dr. Nurelegne underscores that “We cannot do anything without the student Union Council support. The youth of today is the future of tomorrow. The youth of today is the next generation of Ethiopian leaders”. He finally thanks AASTU student union council saying “AASTU Student Union has created an impressive list of accomplishments since establishment.”
The President of Student Union Council of Ethiopian Higher Education, Ahimed Mukitar, said all students of all universities of our country should involve with a peaceful activities on campus life. He added “peace is the prerequisite for all our education”. Student union representatives from different universities also raised lots of questions on critical and contemporary issues of the country. President of AASTU Student Union Council, MrTamiratsaid “During the conference, I learned a lot about diversity, leadership and how to promote and build peace. I hope this conference can be sustained so that other student leaders will get the opportunity to learn”.
At the two-day-long conference themed “We students have an irreversible contribution in all the endeavors of our country’s transformation”. 300 Student Union Council members from all Member universities formulated action plans to connect student council unions in the country through regular interaction and debates on various issues, developments and processes in the country and beyond.
Student participants reflected on elements of peace and mutual understanding from the point of view of history as well as current realities and future challenges. Furthermore, the student participants identified practical solutions how they could serve as leaders of peace in their own contexts including their families, communities, and countries. The council had various activities such as group discussions, visits to AASTU and MoST museums and innovations centers.
Concluding their meetings, all the speakers and participants unanimously demanded that all universities of the country must mainstream political stability for pro-peace, student- interest, and they also underline to creating an environment to enhance competencies and skills of students and nurture their personalities through debates and other positive co-curricular and social activities.