PhD Scholarship in Education (Notice 1)

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU – Norway) in collaboration with Bahir Dar University – BDU (Ethiopia) invites academic staff from BDU to apply for a PhD scholarship within the framework of the NORHED funded project on "Advancing Quality in Education in the Primary and Lower Secondary Schools in Ethiopia and South Sudan". The project is a five years project from August 2016 to August 2021, led by BDU with grant funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) NORHED Programme. The project aims to build institutional capacity of BDU and UJ to improve the quality of Science and Mathematics education in primary and lower secondary schools and it has three components: Education, Research, and Institutional Capacity Building. As part of the research component, there is a plan to recruit three PhD candidates on competetion basis from BDU staff who will work on the following focus areas.

Focus area of the PhD project

The PhD projects are encouraged to focus on, but not limited to, the following areas

  1. Higher order thinking in science curricula and instruction – the Ethiopian education policy has the aim of strengthening problem solving capacity of citizens. Classroom instruction and curricula need to be designed in a way that this aim could be best achieved. Examination of the existing situation and practice in the context of primary and lower secondary science teaching and learning with a possible pilot intervention of an instructional model for enhancing higher order thinking skills of students in science disciplines is encouraged in the project.    
  2. Assessment practices in science – the practice of continuous/formative assessment is widened in the Ethiopian education system starting from primary grades. Reports indicate that the practice is not implemented at its best. The problem may emanate from teachers’ lack of proper understanding about continuous assessment. In particular, the fact that teaching science disciplines involves students’ participation in hands on activities, demands science teachers to be proficient in assessing the variety of activities students are engaged in. The PhD project needs to focus on enhancing the formative assessment practices of teachers in the context of teaching and learning science disciplines.  
  3. Gender mainstreaming related to science education – gender mainstreaming is a cross cutting issue throughout the project’s education and research activities. Gender issues are important in STEM education and research. Recent studies have shown a narrowing of the gender gap in STEM achievement, but such differences still exist among students mostly at the high school level. Students’ attitudes’ towards STEM subjects is also bound to affect their learning and performance. Improving the quality of STEM education and research will require integrating gender issues

How to apply: Interested applicants should submit applications by e-mail to the Project Coordinator at BDU: Dr. Dawit Asrat Getahun, Director of the Institute of Pedagogical and Educational Research; Email: or  

The application should include:

1) A brief statement of interest or cover letter not more than two pages describing your motivation to apply

2) a PhD research proposal of no more than ten pages (page format A4 with 2.5 cm margins, single spacing and Times New Roman 12-point font) outlining the thematic focus and specifying how it relates to the overall project, research questions or hypothesis, methodological and theoretical focus, a timeframe of activities and a list of expected outputs,

3) A detailed curriculum vitae (CV),

4) Copies of masters degree certificates and academic transcripts

5) Publications, if any. It is often difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution to publications with multiple authors; hence a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included and

6) Contact information of two referees (preferably one from a previous supervisor) with phone numbers and e-mail addresses

Eligibility requirements, qualifications and experience: The applicant should be an employee of BDU (Ethiopia)

Applicants must have a strong academic background with at least five-year Masters Degree (including undergrad degree studies) within a suitable qualification which could provide a basis for successfully completing a doctorate, preferably having a background in relevant education fields. Both the grade for the Master’s thesis and the weighted average grade of the Master’s degree must individually be equivalent to or better than a B grade. Experience with teaching (minimum of 2 years) and conducting research in teacher education and strong analytical and writing skills (any peer-reviewed publications) will be considered a major advantage. Female candidates are encouraged to apply.

Language skills: To be qualified the applicant should also have very good English skills both oral and in writing.  

Age limits: Not more than 45 years at the time of application

PhD Scholarship and study conditions: The successful candidate will have PhD scholarship for a period of three years and will be expected to register at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Norway. The student will be expected to follow the registration procedures at NTNU. The student will be expected to spend a total of 14 months at NTNU and the rest of the PhD study period will be spent at Bahir Dar University (BDU) in Ethiopia. The monthly stipend will be NOK 15200 while in Norway and NOK 10670 each year for the period spent in Ethiopia. The successful candidate will become part of an organized research team on the BDU-NOHERD Project and will be expected to write a paper based thesis which will contribute to the project’s publication targets. Thus, the candidate should be able to work independently but also as part of the project team. Research and travel expenses to and from Norway will be covered by the project.

The selection process: Applications will be evaluated by the Project Team. The final decision will be made by the potential supervisors at NTNU and BDU based on recommendations from the project team. When assessing the applications, emphasis will be put on: 1) The quality of the project proposal, 2) The proposal’s alignment with the project goals, and 3) the Masters Study grades. The successful applicant must qualify for formal admission as a PhD student at NTNU. See for information about PhD studies at NTNU.

Expected start date: The planned starting date is August 2018. The student will be expected to refine the research proposal at NTNU, review literature, participate in seminars and possibly take some methodological courses.

Application deadline: All application materials (including scanned copies of academic documents) must be received by 20, February 2018 until 11 o’clock Ethiopian time.

Further information is available by contacting Jørund Aasetre, e-mail: / phone: +47 93211139 or Charlotte N. Jjunju at the Department of Teacher Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.