November 16, 2017,20:00
ADDIS ABABA, — The Ethiopian Ministry of Education (MoE) on Thursday warned legal action against higher education students who interrupt normal educational classes at universities.
Tilaye Gete, Minister of Education, said in a press conference that some universities especially Metu and Ambo in Ethiopia’s central Oromia regional state have had their normal educational classes interrupted by unrest instigated by a small group of students.
Gete said students who have grievances should follow legal ways, while urging school staff and students’ parents to help smooth learning process in universities.
“Consultations are underway with students and stakeholders to resolve the problems that occurred in Metu, Ambo and other higher learning institution,” the minister said.
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.
Since 2016, universities in Oromia regional state in particular have been home to protesting ethnic Oromo students vexed by alleged political and economic disenfranchisement of their community.
Oromia has seen large-scale anti-government protests by ethnic Oromos since the end of 2015 that left hundreds dead.
Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group making up a third of the country’s 100-million population, have complained about decades of economic, political and social marginalization by successive governments.
Martial law declared in October 2016 and later lifted in August 2017 had calmed Oromia, but anti-government protests renewed last month leaving several people dead.