This case study aimed to explicate the status of quality in private distance education colleges at Mertulemariam town. To address this aim qualitative research method and case study strategy were employed. Data were collected from 13 distance learners selected using snowball sampling, and 4 college coordinators selected using available sampling from 4 DE coordinating colleges in the study area. Semi-structured interview guides, observation, documents, and informal conversational interviews were the major data collecting tools. The results revealed that there was a positive perception of DE in terms of its benefits and understanding its limitations. Modules in the printed form were the only instrument used to provide education. There were no sufficient support systems provided for students. The process of education was hanged with different problems and the expected outcome was found at a lower level. The role of the government in controlling the quality of education was not as expected. Based on the results obtained it is suggested that the government should establish a strong supporting and controlling system to assure the quality of education in private colleges. It should not leave private colleges alone rather strong partnerships should be created and exercised. Assuring quality should be the everyday agenda and colleges should be accountable. Exit examinations, competence measuring mechanisms should be practical. Materials prepared and used must be validated by experts and curriculum designers. On line learning, e-learning and technology-based learning should replace the traditional mode of DE instructional delivery using printed hard copies to minimize the quality problem facing the DE system.
Keywords: Distance Education, Education, Private Distance Education, Quality, quality education