Exploring new avenues in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa University (AAU) is the leading University of Ethiopia (Erstwhile Abyssinia). Ethiopia has many distinctions to it and archaeologists believe that first ancestors of modern humans lived in Ethiopia 4.4 millions years ago. Besides, it was the only country in Africa that was never colonised.

Literally Addis Ababa means ‘new flower’ in Amharic, the native language of Ethiopia. It is spreading its fragrance of knowledge through its 60 year old university.

Ethiopia has a population of over 85 million, but the literacy level is just around 40 per cent and the enrolment in higher education is 1.5 per cent, half of the average enrolment of sub – Saharan Africa, which is about three per cent.

Ethiopia is officially referred to as Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). It has now embarked upon a massive expansion of its higher education base as part of the new Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).

The country has unveiled a plan to start more than 12 universities, according to vice – president for Research and Dean School of Graduate Studies, Professor Masresha Fetene.

Ethiopia now has 22 universities and another dozen are in the pipeline. The AAU is in the process of becoming a pre – eminent African Research University and is sharing its best practices with a number of other universities in Africa.

About 50,000 students have enrolled for different programmes including master’s (115), Ph.D. (42), Clinical Speciality (14) besides several undergraduate courses including Food Security Studies, Marketing Management, Tourism and Development, Urban Development, Ethiopian Literature, etc. Seventy per cent of enrolment is in Science and Technology Streams.

The University has an annual budget of $ 40 million and the government earmarked a capital budget of $50 million to meet the growing infrastructure needs.

The present university started as a college 60 years ago, got affiliated to London University in 1951. While the total enrolment is 75,000 in the country, AAU accounts for more than three fourths.

AAU is offering courses through five colleges, both conventional and new courses that include Geography, Public Administration, Linguistics, Physics, Biology and Philosophy.

It also offers courses in Management, Information Sciences, and Tropical Veterinary Pathology. It has three M.Tech Courses in Manufacturing Engineering, Chemical Engineering in collaboration with IIT Delhi.

The eight schools offer both conventional and new courses in emerging areas. The five research focussed institutes together with departments have identified several flagship programmes for research which include Malaria control as more than 60 per cent of population is still prone to it.

Anti HIV / AIDS Research, Food Security, Plant Resources, etc., are given priority in research under Thematic Research interventions with financial assistance from Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), which is comparable to the UPE of the University Grants Commission of India.

Several new programmes are in the pipeline like Health Psychology, Peace Studies, etc., taking the number of programmes to 228. There are a large number of Indian faculty members across disciplines in the university.

Foreign students who join the university see it as a stepping stone to explore the abundant business opportunities available in the country. One can check www.aau.edu.et for further details.

Prof. I. Ramabrahmam,
Visiting Professor, AAU,
Prof. Chakradhar Dash,
Department of Public Administration, AAU.

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