Addis Ababa University Regains Autonomy after 50 Years

ADDIS ABABA – The Addis Ababa University (AAU), the oldest higher learning and research institution in Ethiopia, has regained its autonomous status after nearly 50 years.

A revised AAU establishment draft regulation was tabled for the council of ministers for deliberation on Friday morning.

The revised regulation was prepared in accordance with the newly enacted proclamation that allows granting self-governance to public universities, the office of the Prime minister said in a statement today.

There are more than 50 public higher learning institutions in the country.

Per the PM Office, the process to grant autonomy to AAU first was expedited with a view to initiating a system granting the status.  The AAU will also serve as an example for universities pursuing autonomy, the office said.

On Friday, the Council of Ministers approved the draft regulation after adding its inputs to the bill. It council also decided for the regulation to become effective from the date of its publication in the Negarit Gazette.

’50 years of efforts’

The politicization of administrative and academic decisions and financial constraints, among others, are the reasons blamed for deteriorating quality standards in Ethiopian higher institutions.

Today’s decision will enable the AAU to conduct its academic and administrative activities without any interference and pressure.

Breaking free from government control is expected to give the university a space to improve the quality of education and research in its 10 colleges and 10 institutes.

Today’s decision comes after the Ministry of Education approved the university’s application to reclaim operational autonomy.

“After 50 years of efforts, our pursuit for autonomy has received a positive response,” AAU President Prof Tasew Woldehana said in a message today. “Congratulations to the AAU community and other public universities in the country.”

AAU was a chartered institution granted autonomy from its inception in 1950 until the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

It currently has more than 40,000 students – Of which, more than 40% are postgraduate students. At least 37% percent of the total students are female, Prof. Tassew told the 2022/23 AAU graduation ceremony earlier this month.