Dr. Firew Tegegne , BDU Academic Affairs Vice-President
The role universities are now playing in supporting the struggle towards eradicating poverty from the nation and in realizing the five-years Growth and Transformation Plan(GTP) of the country is so great and worth supporting.
Currently, the government has been constructing a number of universities across the nation to help community have access to higher education nearby and contribute a lot to the growth of the nation as well as the states through producing skilled human resource.
To cite some examples in this regard, the Bahir Dar University (BDU), one of the prominent higher learning institutions in Ethiopia, is working hard to add value to the nation effort against poverty. It has planned to extend problem solving research and studies on five fields of study. Ensuring education relevance and expanding under and post graduate programmes, among others, in 2012-13 acdemic year are the major thematic ares it has predominantly focused on. To this end, it has undertaken various activities. For instance, currently two new campuses are under construction.
This writer recently had a field trip to Amhara State. Taking this advantage, he approached BDU Academic Affairs Vice-President, Dr. Firew Tegegne. He said that aside from carrying out the regular and harmonious teaching-learning process, the university has attached special emphasis on maintaining good governance, conducting research and study programmes, specially that of water, energy, biotechnology, education, textile and wearings.
He also said that the research and study programmes are designed in accordance with the demand of the communities as well as country's socio-economic and other related challenges. And these researches are strongly believed to be the best ways of intensifying problem solving approach.
Dr. Firew added that BDU is an exemplary in providing citizens with quality education by implementing modular approach teaching-learning system among higher learning institutions the country does have at present. Currently, the best experiences which are widely applied in BDU are being expanded to other higher learning institutions employing the modular teaching approach. As it is one of the prominent universities in the country, expanding under and post graduate programmes and new innovations is increasingly becoming the priority area of the university. To this effect, the university currently fosters problem solving research and studies, new technological innovations and expand technology transfer, among others. However, the services in the university are not offered as expected following the problems such as expansion in the university premises, the lack of senior professionals and high work load, he added. As a result, research and study programmes could not be run and made practical at the optimal level in the university. Dr. Firew added that as the Land Administration, Maritime Engineering, Textile Wearings and Fashion Design Departments are only found in BDU, special attention has been given to these departments as they are targeting at producing skilled human resource the country demands most. Land Administration has established as a department at BDU in September 2006 under the then faculty of law.
In 2008, the department has been upgraded to the Institute of Land Administration (ILA) with the support of the Swedish Government (SIDA). Since ILA is the only institute in Ethiopia, it is working hard to be the centre of excellence in the field. The academic curriculum is revised by participating stakeholders and experienced professionals from the municipalities, counseling advisory departments and other institutions engaged in related activities.
Dr. Firew further said that since the Institute delivers multidisciplinary courses by classifying them into four main sections, there are a number of staff members who have different background in various fields such as economics, civil engineering , law geography, architecture, urban planning and agriculture to fulfill the diverse requirement of the course behaviour, he added.
“We train students not only for Ethiopia but for external markets too.” For example, the Maritime Engineering Academy is unique from other programmes as it is aimed at producing skilled maritime professionals to the external market.
Marine Engineering Officers are expected to meet challenging tasks and schedules. These professionals would be familiarize with concepts and practical actions of team orientated philosophy and strong communication skills for further attainment of critical performance. Nowadays, the maritime industry is highly competitive, demands significant commitment, stresses on willing to learn and reward performance. The maritime academy implements a par military discipline, fitness and high academic performance, as expected abroad an international commercial ship, Dr. Firew said.
Increasing female students intake capacity is one of the manifestations of education accessibility. Capacitating them with various skills would be the focus of BDU in the years to come. The university has been arranging a range of supportive steps to female students like tutorials other related affirmative actions. It is currently working all its best to further strengthen activities benefiting citizen in its community service programme. And University's textile department teachers have been contributing various trainings to the effort geared towards making the textile, wearing and fashion design institute more productive.
It is crystal clear that ICT has been playing a decisive role in fostering development, growth and prosperity in the modern world. And it does have great role in helping nations carry out and provide modern and efficient teaching and learning processes.
The university is trying all its best to further expand this sector. Student Information Management System (SIMS) in BDU is connecting students, families, university staffs and other concerned stakeholders inside and outside the university. SIMS also automates the business process of registrar system and related matters. The system is the first of its kind in Ethiopian Higher Learning institutions; it is purely designed and developed by the university academic staff. The system is developed in such away that fragmented data and processes are removed and make all reports as matter of click event and well coordinated ones. This software will be practical in other universities in the near future. True, it does have multifaceted advantages. Many universities have shown increased interest in developing the software, Dr. Friew added.
BDU was established in 2000 when the former Bahir Dar Teachers Colleges and Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute joined together. And they formed the new university. Currently, the university has 16 institutions and over 40, 000 students in undergraduates and post graduating programmes. It is the second university in the country and carries out its duties with six campuses. The university has about 61 and 63 post and undergraduate programmes with about 1,300 teachers.