Digital Transformation for Quality Higher Education in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa University (AAU) in collaboration with International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (UNESCO-ICHEI) of China organized a high level roundtable discussion on “Digital Transformation for Quality Education in Ethiopia”: the role of smart technologies and professional teachers’ development at Institute of Technology (AAiT) on December 23, 2022.

As stated in the discussion, with a main objective of shedding light on the critical roles of digital transformation in shaping quality higher education in Africa, the roundtable discussion brought together the high-level stakeholders from UNESCO, Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions and AAU higher officials to discuss on the ways forward for transforming African higher education through smart technologies and teacher professional development in the digital era.

A Smart Classroom (SCR) was launched at AAiT, established with the initiative of UNESCO-ICHEI and Weidong Cloud Education Group intended to facilitate the smart technologies and professional teachers’ development in the area.

The smart classroom will give enhanced teaching-learning systems in digital ways integrated with digital display tab, white board, assistive listening devices like audio equipment, computers, laptops and Wi-Fi connectivity for the students to share the resources and other teaching materials.

SCR has the benefits of interactive learning experience, encouraging collaboration, go green concept (without chalk and talk), upgraded integration, time saving classroom technology solutions, smart interactive modules and video presentations.

Eba Mijena (PhD), Director General for Higher Institutions at the Ministry of Education, said that nowadays technology has become a leading appliance in everything at every time and place. Technology leads the life of every person, professionals, farmers and every organization which particularly becomes a very important issue in teaching learning processes, he added.

He stated that, Technology has become the central focus of Ministry of Education and the curriculum as well as teachers professional development will be supported by technology to solve current problems and to enhance quality education. Online short term and long term trainings can help to develop skills of teachers without sending them to abroad, he stressed.

Emebet Mulugeta (PhD), Academic Vice President of AAU, said that CIVID-19 epidemic has given us a lot of lessons including conducting classes online by tackling plenty of problems in terms of technology, skills, information and awareness.

From that time onwards, AAU is very much engaged and invested in expanding online education and supporting this type of project. So, our education to be delivered online and distance education could be expanded,” She said.

According to Dr. Emebet, launching of the Smart Classroom is very important to create awareness and to involve other colleges using the classroom for different academic activities including distance education.

Professor Ming Li, Director of UNESCO-ICHEI, on his part said that the smart class project has been implemented to enhance educational infrastructures and to facilitate the development of teachers’ professionals and it serves as a pioneer platform to applying quality technologies in higher education.

He further said that UNESCO-ICHEI has jointly launched the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) with AAU and other Higher Education Institutions in Africa, Asia, Arab states and with education technology enterprises to form a global alliance of higher education stakeholders for digital transformation.

The International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI) has established a partnership with AAU since 2017.

Reporter: Tsion Aysheshim

Photo: Andualem Aseffa

Editor: Abraham Girmay