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Panel Discussion on Rubric Draft Document of Community Engagement

Addis Ababa University held a panel discussion on a draft document produced as a Rubric for Institutionalizing University-Community Engagement at Ambassador Hotel today, 03 December 2020.

Professor Tassew Weldehanna, President of AAU, remarked that the existing university-industry linkage, technology transfer and Community Engagement have not got the attention they deserve as key missions of the university.

According to Prof Tassew, inadequate commitment, lack of supportive structure and motivation of all concerned bodies are serious obstacles not to attain the aims of AAU’s community engagement.

“The concept of community engagement/service in our institution is confusing. The word does not mean to give free energy. From international literature perspective, community engagement designates two-way communication,” Prof Tassew said.

Kenenissa Dabi (PhD), in his presentation of the draft stated that the objectives of the rubric are advancing knowledge and understanding of ‘community engagement’, identifying key partners and stakeholders as well as their expectations, roles and responsibilities.

“In Community Engagement (CE), institutions may share physical and economic resources such as space, facilities, employment opportunities and others with the community,” Dr. Kenenissa clarified.

Kenenissa emphasized in his demonstration that community engagement (CE) aims at mobilizing and combining university knowledge with the community knowledge and experience.

According to Kenenissa, CE is a collaborative joint venture through which Higher Education Institutions and their larger communities exchange knowledge and resources for their mutual benefit in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

“Community engagement requires rethinking the structure of the traditional higher education and governance structure,” he asserted.

By: Theodros Shewangizaw

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene

Editor: Abraham Girmay