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AAU to slash undergrad programs

Addis Ababa University (AAU) – the oldest university in the country – revealed that it is set to focus more on graduate programs at the end of its five-year strategic plan (2016- 2020).

President of AAU, Admasu Tsegaye (PhD), during a workshop organized by the university to discuss the strategic plan of the university with different stakeholders on Thursday, said that the target is to make the university a center of excellence and would focus on research.

Similarly, Admasu told The Reporter that the university aims and strives to become one of the top ten universities in Africa and to do so the university should focus on more research.

“Enrollment in undergraduate programs will be lowered and the university will focus more on graduate programs,” Admasu said.  

According to the president, the university has amended its legislation so as to focus more on research. “The previous legislation doesn’t have any article about research in detail. However, the new legislation will force the instructors to publish their research findings in renowned journals so that they can renew their contract, and in this regard the university will follow the ‘publish or perish’ principle,” he told The Reporter

The president also said that this ‘publish or perish’ principle is very important in creating competitive between the scholars and build the capacity of the university and its research system which will help the university in its endeavor to achieve its strategic plan to be one of the top ten universities in Africa by 2025.

Based on the call for proposals for African Centers of Excellence for Eastern and Southern Africa from the World Bank (WB) to transform science, technology and higher education in Africa, four proposals were selected from the university to be funded by the WB to establish Centers of Excellence in East and Southern Africa, the president told the workshop. 

The areas are Center for Innovative Drug Development and Therapeutic Trials for Africa, African Center of Excellence for Water Management, African Railway Education Research Institute and African Center of Excellences of Biodiversity Education for Sustainable Development.  

The university has also concluded its first strategic plan and, according to the president, a committee established to prepare the second strategic plan has examined both the weaknesses and strengths of the previous plan .

Lack of educational materials and some chemicals to render research, lack of motivation and brain drain were among the identified weaknesses during the first strategic plan, according to the president.

The workshop brought together various stakeholders including Shiferaw Shigute, minister of Education, pubic university administers, NGO representatives and former presidents of the university.

Beginning with 33 students in 1950, Addis Ababa University has now a total enrollment of over 52 thousand students and over 8 thousand staff of which about 2,717 are academic staffs and about 5,385 are support staffs. The university currently runs 70 undergraduate and 293 graduate programs, 72 PhD and 221 master’s degree programs.