Exploring new avenues in Addis Ababa

African safari:I. Ramabrahmam and Chakradhar Dash

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 85 million plus, but the literacy level is just around 40 percent and the enrolment in higher education is 1.5 percent, half of average enrolment of sub-Saharan Africa, which is about three percent.

Backward areas
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.

Premier university
Ethiopia now has 22 universities and another dozen are in pipeline. The AAU is in the process of becoming a preeminent 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 Masters (115), Ph.D. (42), Clinical Speciality (14) besides offering several undergraduate courses including Food Security Studies, Marketing Management, Tourism and Development, Urban Development, Ethiopian Literature etc.
Of these courses 70 percent enrolment is in Science and Technology streams.

The university has an annual budget of $ 40 million USD and the government earmarked a capital budget of $ 50 million to meet the growing infrastructure needs of the university. Affiliation
The present university started as a college sixty years ago, 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 like Geography, Public Administration, Linguistics, Physics, Biology and Philosophy.

It also offers courses in management, information sciences, tropical veterinary pathology. It has three M.Tech courses in manufacturing engineering, chemical engineering in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

The eight schools offer both conventional and 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 percent of population are still prone to it.

Anti HIV/AIDS research, food security, plant resources, etc. are given priority in the 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 is a large number of Indian faculty members across disciplines in the university and the number is ever growing.

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