AAU Graduates about Ten Thousand Students in Its 73rd Commencement

Addis Ababa University (AAU) graduated more than 8,000 students in graduate, undergraduate (UG), speciality and sub-speciality programs of the 2022/23 academic year with the presence of the University’s and government higher officials at the Millennium Hall of the capital on the 20th of July 2023.

According to the information from the AAU Commencement event, 5,308 Undergraduate, 3,299 Masters’ and 256 Doctors of Philosophy (PhD), 8,863 students in total graduated from the University with creditable inclusion (34.8%) of female students. The University also awarded honorary doctoral degrees to two nationally figured individuals through H.E. Sahle Work Zewde, President of the FDRE.

H.E. Sahle Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), stated that education is not limited to completing courses given within a certain time frame, taking exams and getting ABC’s and graduating. Learning means bringing about a change in behaviour: bringing a change in behaviour means choosing and following the good over the bad, the light over the dark, and the right over the evil, she added.

Behavioural change is not limited to us, rather means keeping others away from the wrong and worse paths; it also means carrying people’s burdens, understanding the situation of our people who are in trouble and struggling to get them out of this problem,” she reiterated.

According to the President, what the graduates learned from the University is to understand and solve problems upon others; expected to open the closed paths against citizens and to light/shine up gloomy situations from the disregarded ones.

Education equips us with the knowledge that allows us to broaden our horizons, understand our environment better, and work effectively in this world. Education gives us the opportunity to think independently, to generate ideas, to debate important ideas and to understand each other through communication,” she intensified.

As stated by the President, AAU is Grand National institution that has been serving Ethiopia in teaching, research and community service for the last 73 years. “I don’t think there is an Ethiopian who has not reached the legacy of the University in every home and office,” she confirmed.

Universities in general, said the President, should be the generators of ideas and arguments; the main sources of freedom of thought that improve the way of life of our people; creators and designers of government policy resources; practitioners of democracy, development and good governance systems. Universities should not be swayed by seasonal political winds, but should separate the wheat from the chaff and promote ideas that benefit the people and the country, she added.

President Sahle Work advised that Addis Ababa University should be a model for the innovations and technological results obtained through research, and everything what it has been doing so far is very encouraging.

AAU is becoming more and more influential in terms of quality of education, research, communication and cooperation, especially at the African level. I want this credibility to continue; take advantage of the opportunity to expand its vision and rise higher by providing scholarships to other Africans to strengthen African brotherhood,” she further stated.

The President appreciated the graduates of the year for their successful completion of their educational and research career where there are many current national challenges that test the mind, break the heart and hurt their feelings.

The government tries to use the knowledge of the University and its graduates with an attempt to providing different job opportunities, the President said. However, as there is no country in the world that holds all the graduates’ jobs, it is recommended that graduates create their own jobs individually, in pairs and in groups, using the knowledge and skills they have gained during their stay at the University.

In this way, I would like to ensure that the government provides unceasing help and support by providing workplaces, providing material and technical supports, creating market linkages, providing on-the-job capacity building training,” President Sahle Work finally stated.

Professor Tassew Woldehanna, President of AAU, on his part said that AAU in recent years has been working hard to fill gaps observed in the education sector of the country as a whole.  The graduate level learning is screening its students through administering an internationally standardized Graduate Admission Test (GAT) and subsequent subject-matter tests via their departments they applied for, he clarified.

Prof. Tassew mentioned that this year’s graduates of the University are strictly different from the previous graduates in three specific points:

First, the education delivery system is up-to-date considering the current level of science and international phenomena; considers timely national interest, it is graduate-employer-industry focused.

  • The graduates have taken exit exam in addition to their courses exams throughout their training in the University. Among the 2,424 UG students who sat for the exit exam that nationally administered for the first time, 85% of them have successfully accomplished.
  • Postgraduate program students have also passed through further graduate quality requirement of publishing articles in internationally reputable journals with a minimum of one for Masters and two for the PhD graduates.

Secondly, UG students have applied practical internship activities with the purpose of qualifying them with better understanding of the practical working environment and responsibilities that they are going to take after their graduation.

Thirdly, UG students took soft skill training featuring their tomorrow of technology handling in their future jobs so as to familiarize them with the digital world.  Due to the graduates have been shaped with the consideration of industrial needs and current situations, the employability of the graduates is now increased from 53 to 84 percent, he added.

According to Prof. Tassew, Ethiopia has taught the graduates not only investing all the wealth that she owns but also adding remarkable amount of treasure that she received through debts.

Though our country Ethiopia is rich with natural resource, it is now found in challenging situations. As your country has taught you even during its hardship times, now is your turn to assist her in different circumstances using the modern technology and understanding current situations working from your pure mind-set,” Prof. Tassew said.

Prof. Tassew informed the graduates that Ethiopia calls them to pull-out its citizens and dilapidated lands from various challenging calamities. “AAU also requires you to support the government in different directions with new working mechanisms based on your fields of studies,” he enhanced.

As Prof. Tassew stated, AAU in its 73 years of journey has produced graduates that have been role models and that played great roles nationally, continentally and in the global arena as well.

AAU now after several efforts has got credit from the government for becoming an autonomous institution. As a result of this, a charter that enables universities being autonomous has been developed and ratified in May 2023 by the House of People’s Representatives of the FDRE. And AAU has already completed all the requirements of pre-autonomous transitional steps,” Prof. Tassew declared.

AAU nowadays comprises of more than 40,000 students of which more than 40% of them are postgraduate students which includes more than 2,000 PhD students, Prof. Tassew mentioned.  “Of the total students, 37% of them are female,” he added.

According to Prof. Tassew, AAU currently publishes more than 3,100 journal articles in internationally reputable journals annually. “In liaison with this, an international university ranking institution has put AAU first among Below Sahara African countries excluding South Africa. This increases the employability of the graduates and their scholarship opportunities in well-known universities in overseas,” he intensified.

AAU award honorary doctoral degrees to the founder of Mekedonia Volunteers Association, Biniam Belete, and the Well-known Ethiopian artist Debebe Eshetu.

Editor: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene