Discussion Holds on AAU and Chinese Universities Collaboration Trends

Addis Ababa University (AAU) and the Embassy of China to Ethiopia held talks on facilitating collaboration trends between AAU and Chinese universities at the Office of the President of AAU 8th of February 2021.

Professor Tassew Weldehanna, President of AAU, introduced the university to the Chinese delegation as it is young compared to other African universities which were established during the colonial Era 100-150 years ago. It was established in 1950 by the Ethiopian government and no foreigner has been assigned as a president for it since then, he added.

According to Prof Tassew, AAU currently has 10 colleges, 12 technology institutes and 12 research institutes and overall has more than 45, 000 students of which 66.7% are undergraduate and 33.3% are postgraduate students. Postgraduate program is increasing and the undergraduate program is slightly declining to accommodate more for postgraduate studies and research, he clarified.

Even though AAU has much collaboration with North America, Europe and other African countries, it is always highly interested to work with Chinese government and Universities in China and with the South East Asia in general, as the importance of Chinese economy and academic trend is in progress, Prof Tassew said.

AAU is a research university, member of African research universities alliance, 600th globally and one among the top 10 in Africa in ranking, said Prof Tassew, and is the primary in the country focusing on the postgraduate than the undergraduate programs ahead to do research with the students and be able to compute internationally in research teaching and learning.

Prof Tassew remarked, “Now, AAU’s status in Africa is good but it needs to work more to be one among the top 500 universities in the world in the next five years. So, for this internationalization is the collaboration becomes important with South-East Asian universities in general and with Chinese universities in particular during your tenure, Mr. Ambassador.”

Steps are underway that the AAU has sent some young, female staff members to one of Chinese universities and needs more to excel the opportunity by encouraging others to apply in various universities in China upon unreserved support from the Embassy here in Addis, Prof Tassew clarified.

According to Prof Tassew, some agreement steps have already been taken recently to make a link for a centre providing Chinese language testing which aims to serve the whole East Africa being settled at Addis Ababa University.

The newly appointed Chinese Ambassador Zhao Zhiyuan, on his part said that Ethio-Chinese cooperation is extremely widening and their friendliness is getting stronger working together on multifaceted sectors, such as education, industry, technology and the like.

“This is why we have been facilitating all progress in the education sector and exchanges between universities are playing a vital role in the progress. In the past four years, we have made exchange of teachers and students, the launching of EXSR small sell ally, the establishment of Amharic course in Chinese universities and the establishment of computer institute in AAU,” the Ambassador highlighted.

According to the Ambassador, the cooperation between AAU and Chinese universities should not be limited to language learning, but they can actually work together to facilitate the development of industrial complexes in Ethiopia to promote the economic development of Ethiopia as well as China;  this brings industrialization and modernization for Ethiopia.

By: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene