NUI Galway has signed a co-operation agreement with Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (AASTU ), in which the Irish university will support its Ethiopian counterpart in establishing itself as an international hub of science, innovation, and education in East Africa.
AASTU was founded by the Ethiopian government in 2011 with a mission to become a leading force in higher education in Ethiopia, a country with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is part of Ethiopia's five-year Growth and Transformation Plan, aimed at developing Ethiopia from its reliance on subsistence agriculture to a capacity for market-led production and innovation.
While Ethiopia is regarded among African countries as one of the favourites to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for primary education, it has yet to catch up with the African average in terms of tertiary education expansion and student participation.
In 2013, through its Embassy in Dublin, the Ethiopian government approached NUI Galway to invite it to serve as a development partner to the new university.
NUI Galway will assist AASTU in developing its institutional practices and programmes, and will share its expertise in areas such as academic administration, quality assurance, programme development, community outreach, industry engagement, and librarianship. There is also provision for staff and student exchanges.
NUI Galway's Dean of International Affairs, Professor Brian Hughes said: “We are very proud to sign this agreement with AASTU. NUI Galway has a long history, and we have benefited greatly from the assistance of our colleagues around the world. We are privileged now to provide assistance to AASTU as it establishes itself as a new university.
“Our engagement with AASTU will be very much a two-way partnership. Ethiopia is experiencing rapid social, cultural, and economic change and is embarking on an ambitious national development programme. We feel we have much to learn from working with our colleagues in Addis Ababa as they enter this new and exciting phase of Ethiopian history.”