AAU Expands Graduate , Continuing and Distance Education
· Students to Resume Classes
Considering the need to increase skilled manpower in the country, the Addis Ababa University (AAU) said it has made a
significant change to expand graduate programs as well as continuing and distance education. Students who interrupted classes in April last year will resume classes after a week.
Briefing local journalists about the expansion, academic members of the university said that because the need to have trained
manpower is increasing from time to time, expanding graduate programs and reforming its structure to reach out to more people was necessary.
Speaking about the graduate expansion program, professor Yemane Berhane, Associate Vice President for Research and
Graduate Programs, said the country’s state of affairs, which can mostly be characterized by the increasing HIV/AIDS, poverty, high death rate, and unemployment rate, among others, necessitated the need for AAU changing its programs.
"The demand for instructors in existing and newly opened higher learning institutions, demand for trained labor force in
technologically advancing world of work and the increasing public demand for higher learning to be a better competitor for
employment are also reasons for the expansion," Prof. Yemane said.
To facilitate the program, according to him, AAU is currently developing and revising the curricula, revising policy, regulations and procedures, negotiating with relevant partners and stakeholders to obtain the necessary resources and has extended the period of application for the 2002/3 post graduate program until September 2002, which its application deadline was originally set for March, Prof. Yemane added.
Explaining about the expansion of continuing and distance education programs, Professor Habtamu Zewde, Continuing Education Dean, said on his part that, with the help of its newly established ICT network, AAU would reach out to more people soon. The re-structuring move would also enable it deliver its programs wide and far to the target groups who could not attend the regular class sessions and those who live in the rural areas without the benefit of economic development. "AAU has revised its continuing and distance education programs with a vision statement that by no means time and distance would marginalize the teaching learning process," Prof. Habtamu said.
The major re-structure of the program is therefore, the formation of different units to deal with both the regular, extension and
distance education, according to him. "The extension program, distance education as well as in service programs have exclusive units to facilitate their activities," Prof. Habtamu said adding that all of the units would follow up all the programs they stand for.
Preparations have also been completed to train students with different ICT programs including BSc in computer science and
information technology both for teaching and non-teaching programs. Advanced level teachers would be the main beneficiaries of the program which takes two and three years duration of study for the full-time and part-time programs respectively. The program will be effective two weeks after, according to Prof. Habtamu.
Despite all these efforts, however, AAU is facing some threats, Prof. Habtamu added. "Globalization of education, competition
from private colleges both for teachers and students are some of the difficulties facing the university," he said.
With regard to re-starting the terminated teaching-learning process due to the April 2001 crisis, the senate of the university has
announced times for all the students who interrupted classes in April.
Accordingly, 1st year students should register on Monday May 6, 2002 whereas 2nd year and above students should register
Monday, April 8, 2002. The class will end by the middle of June 2002, according to the schedule. All students will evacuate the campus between 20-24 July 2002.
Even though efforts have been exerted to re-schedule its academic calendar, according to Dr. Butte Gotu, AAU Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, it will take additional four to five years to re-settle its academic calendar crisis.
Established around half a century back, AAU has currently 688 full time teaching staff of which 285 of them are lecturers, 216
assistance professors, 142 associate professors and 45 professors. More than 20,000 students are attending classes in regular,
extension and distance education programs. At present, the AAU has 21 degree and 20 diploma programs.