Physics, as one of the fundamental sciences, is concerned with the observation, understanding and prediction of natural phenomena and the behavior of man-made systems. It deals with profound questions about the nature of the universe and with some of the most important practical, environmental and technological issues of our time. The scope of Physics is broad and encompasses mathematical and theoretical investigation, experimental observation, computing technique, technological application, material manipulation and information processing. Physics seeks simple explanations of physical phenomena based on universal principles stated in concise and powerful language of mathematics. The principles form a coherent unity, applicable to objects as diverse as DNA molecules, neutron
stars, super-uids, and liquid crystals. Findings in Physics have implications in all walks of life ranging from the way we perceive reality to gadgets of everyday use.
Physicists constantly test the basic laws of nature by probing the unknown, the mysterious and the complex. They also search for new laws at the frontiers of knowledge, systematically seek novel properties of matter. They are alert to the possibility of applying physical idea and processes to new situations, and often the realization of these possibilities has had revolutionary consequences. It is with the intention of producing such physicists for the country that this curriculum has been developed and is currently under a harmonization process.
The Physics departments throughout the country have di_erent backgrounds with the Physics Department at AAU being the pioneer. Most of the others are opened during the last two decades. Some of these Universities have been o_ering BSc, others BEd while the rest both. Currently there are 22 Physics Departments o_ering a BSc degree program in the country. It was evident that the previous curriculum, where ever it has been applied in the country, had a number of limitations. In order to _nd out the limitations of the previous curriculum and develop a better and new curriculum based on the new 70:30 enrolment and program mix policy, all Universities were requested, by them Ministry of Education, to carry out needs assessment.
Based on the _ndings of the needs assessment, most of the universities have conducted a consultative meeting at cluster levels, and then a national conference has been conducted where representatives from almost all Ethiopian Universities o_ering a degree program in Physics have actively participated. The conference has clearly indicated that the previous curriculum has signi_cant limitations, and hence, in order to alleviate these shortcomings, a new and dynamic approach was required. It is indicated that the new curriculum should be prepared taking into account that the limitations of the previous curriculum should be critically addressed. It should aim for a comprehensive curriculum that contributes signi_cantly towards the development of our country in a way that this important _eld plays a vital role for the advancement of science and technology. In light of these recommendations,
all universities came together for the second time to _nalize and harmonize a common curriculum. In that conference, a national three years curriculum has been developed which was later endorsed by the National Advisory Committee and consequently by the Ministry of Education.
A consensus has been reached by the Universities that at present our country is lacking the necessary expertise in Physics. It has become very evident to start a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree Program in Physics for the following main reasons:
· there is a growing need, from the learners' side, to maximize the stability of their skills in the ever increasing competition in the job market;
· as the result of the graduate expansion program, new study areas that absorb Physics graduates in their post graduate programmes are emerging in various faculties/colleges of di_erent universities throughout the country
· the need for educated manpower in the country itself is increasing in diversity. Professions like teaching, medicine, radiation protection, meteorology, quality and standards control, geo- Physics among others absorb graduates of Physics.
A Physics student should nurture strong analytical, experimental and computing skills as well as
mathematical abilities.Students should also be able to work with mechanical, optical and electronic equipments, to design projects and synthesize and summarize data that compliment theoretical and experimental skills to enhance career opportunity. Taking this into account the Ethiopian Higher Education Strategic Center (HESC), has initiated an idea of further harmonizing the national curriculum taking the experience of the last one year in implementing the new curriculum. On Hamle 12, 2001 EC, HESC has formed group of consultants from the existing universities in the respective _elds. The Physics curriculum harmonizing team is established accordingly. The team has consulted many curriculum documents relevant for its work. Particularly, it has critically evaluated the newly implemented Physics curricula of almost all the Ethiopian universities. It has also looked at the Physics curricula from the European Union which are developed on the so called Bologna Process. In addition, the team has consulted the Ethiopian Physics curriculum for the preparatory schools. It is based on these accounts that the team has come up with the current harmonized curriculum for BSc Degree program in Physics. The team has found out that there is a smooth coherence between the preparatory curricula and the harmonized Physics Curricula for the Ethiopian Universities.