1963 speech on Higher Education
A well organized education should not be one which prepares students for a good remuneration alone. It should be one that can help and guide them towards acquiring clear thinking, a fruitful mind, and an elevated spirit.
The educated person that Ethiopia and countries of our level needs is not one who had stuffed bits of knowledge into his mind. The needed educated individual is one who uses the ideas he obtained from his lectures, books, and discussions to the best advantage of his own country and his own people. It is he who disseminates new ideas in harmony with the economic and social aspects of his own community so that fruitful results would be realized. This is the educated person who can show segments of knowledge he accumulated in his learning, inventiveness in a new situation.
Ethiopia is a country with her own culture and mores. These, our cultures and customs, more than being the legacy of our historical past, are characteristics of our Ethiopianness. We do not want our legacies and traditions to be lost. our wish and desire is that education develop, enrich, and modify them.
You all know the continuous effort that Ethiopia is exerting for the development of a profound and high standard education. We need educated and trained persons for research, for the study and development of our country's resources, for technology, for medicine, for the law, and the administration for our people according to their custom. These are the needs that constrain us to provide, at all levels, education free of charge. And students, ever mindful of this privilege, should endeavour to recompense their country and nation.
The opportunity for education, afforded to the fortunate in our country, is not given to them for a fashion or a mode. It is given for a purpose, for a task, for a high reponsibility for full and exhaustive use, for the benefit of our country, and the coming generation. We have just explained to you the type of result, and responsibility that we expect from you students. It is on you, the members of the faculty that we must rely for this result. We realize the heavy responsibility we have entrusted to you. We hope that you too, while believing and accepting your responsibilities as your sacred duties, will, produce for Ethiopia persons who take pride in you and their education and are ready for the call of service.
It is you who must mold the minds of your students that they may be wise, farsighted, intelligent, profound in their thinking, devoted to their country and government and fruitful in their work. It is you who must sense as the example.
On their part also, they will have to learn not only formal education but also self discipline that should be worthy to be inherited. May the Almighty God be with you in the fulfillment of your duties.