Jan 11 , 2020

Addis Abeba Science & Technology University is building eight centres of excellence

One of the state technology universities is building the first eight centres of excellence for advanced science and technology at a total cost of 2.4 billion Br.

Addis Abeba Science & Technology University (AASTU) is constructing all eight centres of excellence at its premises in Kilinto on a 90,000Sqm plot. The project will be fully financed through the government's coffer.

The centres being constructed in the compound at Kilinto will deal with bioprocessing; construction quality; technology; nuclear fission; artificial intelligence and robotics; mineral exploration and sustainable energy; nanotechnology; high-performance computing and big data analysis.

Its facilities will feature laboratories, generators and lifts. Yotek Construction, a local firm that was established in 1998 and executed the construction of Amhara’s Regional President Office at Bahir Dar and Jimma University's conference hall, is the primary contractor for the project. The construction of the centres began in July 2018 and is expected to be completed this year.

Yohanes Abbay Consulting Architect & Engineers, which worked on the building of the former Government Communication Affairs Office, Public Servants Social Security Agency and the Adama Science & Technology University headquarters, is supervising the construction of the project.

The centres will help the University to become a research facility, according to Abebe Dutoro, public and international relations director at the University, which was founded in 2011 and received its first batch of 2,000 students in November 2011.

"It'll also help us to deliver the highest quality of education and training in science and technology and graduate fully capable students who can design, manage and execute any endeavour in their area of speciality," Abebe added.

For this fiscal year, the country allocated 50.6 billion Br, 13pc of its total budget, to education.

AASTU is among the 50 state universities in the country and 38 teacher colleges that provide a three-year diploma. Last year, these institutions had 873,000 students who studied for their first degrees.

The University is the second institution that specialises in technology next to Adama Science & Technology University, both of which operate under the Ministry of Science & Higher Education.

Currently, AASTU has enrolled more than 8,700 undergraduate and postgraduate students under its nine applied sciences, technology, engineering and ICT focused schools.

AASTU has a total of 863 employees, including academic research and faculty, graduate assistants and administration staff. Out of the total employees, 472 are academic and 391 are administrative staff.

An expert in the education sector, Tamiru Delelegn, a lecturer at Bahir Dar University's College of Educational & Behavioral Science appreciates the construction of the centre of excellence, mentioning that it will enhance the capacity of the students.

For the past two decades, the government has focused more on expanding education rather than quality, according to Tamiru.

"Now, these kinds of centres will bring excellence in education," he said.

However, Tamiru argues that these facilities are not enough, adding that the government should think of compensating lecturers to make them focus on teaching.

"Most of the university lecturers focus on running their own personal business," he said. "They don't invest their full time in teaching."

So the universities should compensate and monitor the lecturers better, recommended Tamiru.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 11,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1028]

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