10-year Plan will transform AMU into Research University: Dr Damtew

AMU as full-fledged Research University has responsibility of enormous proportion at hands and perceptibly, newly devised 10-Year Strategic Plan will enable it to achieve what’s expected. Right from integration of research with teaching-learning, expanding and enhancing Master and PhD programs in relation to market relevance will be our immediate priorities, said, the University President, Dr Damtew Darza.

Importantly, the fulcrum of our Strategic Plan has two pivotal issues, first, it is Ethiopian government’s 10-Year Development Plan adopted by the Ministry of Science & Higher Education and AMU getting categorized as Research University; these two elements will hurtle us towards intended targets, he said.

Furthermore, he adds, with research at the base, we will enhance post-graduate programs making market relevance as main driver; then research publications will be enhanced, laboratories including workshops will be equipped with advanced equipments and libraries duly updated, he stressed.

With research getting blended with curriculums; integration of indigenous knowledge with research and theories is our main motive, wherein course content on traditional knowledge like agriculture, health, environment, culture, etc. will be made compulsory, and in next 5 years every teacher will be carrying out research with focus on converting research outputs into projects for Community Service, he added.

Thereafter, in next 10 years, accreditation of existing research journals and launching more from various disciplines will be carried out. After accreditation of UG, Master and PhD programs by Academy of Science & Research, their restructuring will be looked into that consequently will reduce intake of UG students; and ensuring optimum necessary services is our prime objective as well.

On budgetary provision, he said, it can be availed depending upon emerging needs such as collaborative research with global and national institutions. Importantly, as AMU told to generate internal revenue, in turn, we have rechristened our enterprises as Arba Minch University Income Generation Organization and accorded autonomous status. Soon it get given seed money, professionals will be recruited while its management aspect will be monitored by AMU Board.

Detailing MoSHEs’ objectives, he said, apart adopting them, AMU has added few more to it which might be revisited in near future. Specific 8 goals include inculcating science & research culture, generating internal revenue, standardizing administrative system, strengthening educational funding, improving ICT, creating efficient graduates, implementing cross-cutting issues at university level, etc.

This plan will be duly cascaded to all stakeholders, he said, we follow MoSHE’s direction then it goes to the University Council which approves it and forthwith pushes it to different wings within university and ultimately governs 10-Year plan.

On possible restructuring scenario, he said, in that regard, we have constituted a 5-member committee which is headed by Dr Malebo Mancha; the panel will visit different universities in Ethiopia to warily assess specific needs of a research university and present its report within 3 months; thereafter, we will act upon it.

Emphasizing on quality, he said, at the outset, we will increase number of PhD-holding staff, consistently conduct short-term instructional skill training including higher diploma programs; equip laboratories and workshops with scientific equipments and libraries with reading materials. More emphasize will be given to internship within Ethiopia and abroad that will mutually enrich knowledge and build capacity of staff, students and industries. Similarly, attracting students from African nations, inviting global experts to AMU and sending our staff abroad to share their knowledge and expertise, etc are on the agenda.

As per 10-year Plan, government’s prime focus is to develop agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, mining & ICT sectors, wherein AMU will strengthen ICT so that required services get automated and other services like human resource and property management will be supported and e-learning gets enhanced, he added.

Facilitating provision of funds for travel abroad to build collaboration, he said, AMU itself can ensure such provision but until recently due to internal strife we were focusing on within; with peace reigning all around we possibly may travel abroad to tie-up with potential international research institutions.

While providing special facilities to female and disabled students, he said, apart from ongoing tutorials and allied services; we will find what’s lacking and immediately address those issues. We will also study their economic status and accordingly enhance aid so that they can complete their education, he added.

To study reason and assess aftermath of ongoing ethnic clashes in Ethiopia, government has established a statutory body called - Identity & Demarcation Commission which will work with 22 universities on requests that includes AMU; our 3 instructors are already engaged in research. Due to this, Gamo and other zones are urging us to assist in such kind of study. By launching Culture and Language Institute we will build our capacity to work on national agenda.

Our Strategic Plan has appropriate structure to oversee its implementation where AMU will periodically inform about its progress to Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA).

Home-grown PhD Project is one of the key constituents of MoSHE’s plan, he informed, under which in next 5 years, 5,000 PhD graduates in different disciplines are to be produced in Ethiopia. In this context, government has detailed AMU and Adama Science & Technology University for launching PhDs in water sector. Simultaneously, UG curriculums will be revised and infrastructures in different campuses will be completed.

(Communication Affairs Directorate)