Ethiopian students urged to refrain from “destructive agendas”

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian government on Sunday urged higher education students across the country to refrain from any form of destructive agendas and envisage rational judgments amid the starting of the new academic year.

The call was made by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his deputy, Demeke Mekonnen.

Ahmed and Mekonnen, as part of their messages to higher education students, urged the need to engage in constructive agendas as millions of Ethiopian youth embark on the new Ethiopian academic year.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation with more than 100 million population, has a burgeoning youth as more than 70 percent of its total population are under 30 years of age, according to government figures.

Noting that students are the east African country’s future, Ahmed advised them to give due emphasis on national agendas with the potential of positively shaping the country’s socioeconomic and political outlooks.

The premier called on all public and private education institutions in Ethiopia to focus on not only training students for future employment, but also to prepare them toward positively impacting the country’s future.

Improving the culture of peaceful resolution of differences and misunderstandings through discussions was also another focus in Ahmed’s message to Ethiopian students.

Universities across Ethiopia were the center of recent waves of unrest that affected the country since the second half of 2016 mainly attributed to challenges related with corruption and maladministration.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen echoed Ahmed’s call, stressing on the need to limit the movement of political factions in academic institutions.

According to Mekonnen, all political parties that are presently active in the country, including the ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), cannot engage in any form of political movements inside the premises of educational institutions.

He also urged members of all political parties and groups to refrain from manifesting their programs and logos inside universities and colleges as these places must be secular from any form of political movement.

Ethiopia’s higher education institutions have been hotbeds of dissent since the 1960s, eventually helping overthrow the last Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie I, in September 1974.

In recent years, higher educational institutions have also become scenes of violence among students over political, ethnic and religious differences.

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