Eskinder Jembere and Samson Melesse.
Photo: Carl-Magnus Höglund

Partnership develops PhD education in Ethiopia


Ethiopian doctoral students have enjoyed supervision and research stays at the University of Gothenburg within a partnership programme. Two of them are Eskinder Jembere and Samson Melesse, who have just finished their third stay in Sweden.

Samson Melesse and Eskinder Jembere.
Samson Melesse and Eskinder Jembere.
Photo: Carl-Magnus Höglund

Within the framework of the partnership programme, the doctoral students have enjoyed supervision from researchers at the University of Gothenburg, and three research stays of three months each at the Faculty of Education. Due to the ongoing war in Ethiopia, however, this third stay has been extended a number of times. But now, after nine months, they are travelling back to Addis Ababa to finish their third-cycle studies.

‘I have felt at home in Gothenburg. We have gotten to know so many humble, collaborative and supportive people,’ says Eskinder Jembere.

Eskinder Jembere and Samson Melesse have been accepted as doctoral students at the Centre for Comparative Education and Policy Studies at Addis Ababa University, and are each writing a doctoral thesis on an aid project developing vocational courses and study programmes in Ethiopia and Zambia. Eskinder studies how the collaboration between international and local partners has worked, while Samson studies the teaching practice.

Has developed as a researcher

Eskinder and Samson list several positive aspects of the research stay in Sweden. They have benefited from inclusion in an international research environment, supervision by senior researchers, and access to the resources of the university library.

‘I have become a better researcher. It has been very useful to meet the supervisor in person, and having access to the library's resources has helped me a lot. I've been able to get all the information I want,’ says Samson, and continues:

‘I have also developed my ability to communicate and present research, thanks to all the seminars and workshops.’

Eskinder agrees:

‘I have developed as a researcher and as a person through the project. I have gained a lot of experience participating in an international research environment. When the project is finished, I will transfer my knowledge to the university and students in Ethiopia.’

Aims to develop PhD education

The partnership programme is funded by Sida, and has been running since the spring of 2018. Eleven researchers from the University of Gothenburg have participated as supervisors alongside Ethiopian colleagues at the Centre for Comparative Education and Policy Studies.

‘The aim is capacity development, with the goal that the centre will have the capacity to train doctoral students on its own. They have already started their own Master's (120 credits) programme, and two of their researchers are now docents,’ says Gun-Britt Wärvik, project manager and pro dean for research at the Faculty of Education.

A total of 17 doctoral students have started their third-cycle studies within the partnership programme, and 13 of them have already successfully defended their doctoral theses. The Swedish and Ethiopian supervisors have also visited each other's universities for joint seminars, conferences and supervision of the doctoral students.

Text: Carl-Magnus Höglund


The project ”Research Training Partnership Programme in International and Comparative Education” is financed by SIDA and is a cooperation between Addis Ababa University and the University of Gothenburg.