Dr. Mekasha Kassaye

Director, Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement

E-mail:- mekasha.kassye@aau.edu.et


The Office for Academic standards and Quality enhancement is set up in AAU with a mandate to ensure and enhance quality of education in Addis Ababa University. As part of these missions the office sets academic standards and conducts regular studies to ensure customer satisfaction. The projects and activities the Office runs can be divided into two: government funded and donors supported ones.

2018/2019 Achievements

SIDA (Swedish International Development Agency) Supported activities

As part of the AAU capacity and research development initiative supported by Sida two major activities were planned to be conducted between 01 July 2018 and 30 June 2019. These were PhD programs management standards document development (July2018-December 2018) (First term) and undertaking a tracer study on PhD graduates of Addis Ababa University (January 2019 – June 30, 2019) (second term)

PhD programs management standards document

Rationale for the PhD Standards document

One of the strategies to ensure educational quality in higher education is to set standards for implementing in the graduate programs in areas such as teaching, learning, examination and invigilation.  An institution that does not set at least minimum reasonable standards that inform the offering of its academic programs is very unlikely to ensure both quality and stakeholders’ confidence in the labor market. It may also be very difficult for an institution without such standards to deliver nationally and internationally competitive educational programs and produce problem-solving educational research outputs and quality community services.

The Standard for PhD Programs of Addis Ababa University, thus, is expected to address various issues in five major cluster areas, namely, issues related to (i) quality teaching and learning; (ii) ethical and moral code of conducts; (iii)research; (iv) social responsibility; and (v) continuous upgrading. Further explanations may be made regarding the justifications follows.

  • directing respective Colleges / Schools / Departments / etc., towards planning, designing, developing, running, supervising, and continuously improving for PhD programs
  • defining, planning, designing, developing, running, supervising, and continuously improving PhD programs with firm scientific, economic, social, cultural, political, etc., rationales and justifications with crystal-clear targets consistent with the policy foundations of the country in collaboration with potential employers, stakeholders, and partners such as, government institutions, the private sector, community institutions, civic societies, and service providing organizations;
  • preparing, recruiting, selecting, assigning, exchanging, supervising, motivating, and upgrading faculty members for PhD programs ensuring cross-breeding among and across local and international universities and promoting competitiveness at the international arena;
  • designing, developing, procuring, maintaining, and continuously improving accessibility and efficient use of essential infrastructure, facilities, and services that cater to the educational, technological, communication, health, psychological, residential, transport, financial, career development, networking, recreational, needs of PhD students and faculty
  • availing, maintaining, and improving, and use of quality teaching material, methods and techniques and appropriate technology to facilitate theoretical and practical learning not only on-campus activities but also through efficient networking and collaboration with employers, stakeholders, and partners;
  • recruiting high calibre candidates for PhD programs through assessment tools with proven predictive validity;
  • attracting, recruiting, inspiring, equipping, and enabling students giving due attention to principles of equal opportunity and fair access addressing needs of able students with financial needs; inclusivity for marginalized groups; ingresses for international students, so as to enhance exchange of experiences, cross-breeding of ideas, and global visibility;
  • collaborating with potential government institutions, the private sector, community institutions, civic societies, and service providing organizations not only to ensure employability but in order to ensure that PhD graduates from Addis Ababa University are coveted for leadership and decision making positions both locally, regionally and internationally;

Undertaking a Tracer study on Addis Ababa University’s PhD graduates (2014-2018)

Global experiences have shown that most of the higher education institutions conduct tracer studies about their graduates. The focus given to a tracer studies varies from one institution to another and from country to country. Tracer studies are also known by the names alumni surveys, follow-up surveys or graduate career tracking system. Whatever the names, experiences have shown that graduate tracer studies have been recognized as a vital strategy to understand the relevance and quality of programs offered by universities in terms of graduate employment. Tracer studies are also aimed at getting empirical evidences regarding the professional relevance of the study programs, along with feedback from their graduates on the quality of education. They also focus on issues such as the course content/curriculum, instructional materials, technology, and the performance of university instructors.

AAU has since the past few years made quality assurance and quality enhancement one of its priorities in its graduate programs. Again, one of the key instruments to ensure and enhance quality into the PhD programs of AAU was conduct tracer study at regular intervals and use the feedback gained from it as inputs to further improve quality.

Study design

The Tracer study used both quantitative and qualitative research methodology and the data is generated through a combination of data collection instruments. The quantitative data was obtained by employing an online survey using a structured questionnaire.  A standard tracer study questionnaire developed by Schomburg (2003) was used as a basis to develop the survey questionnaire for the graduates.  In addition, we collected qualitative data from key informants. The key informant interview was guided by a checklist of issues related to the study condition and employment of the PhD graduates of AAU. Figure xxx depicts the study design we employed with respect to inputs, process and output..The questionnaire distributed to the graduates contains questions that were grouped under the following themes:

  • Socio-Biographic Characteristics, Eduation and Work Before Study
  • Study Conditions and Provisions, and Study Experiences
  • Job Searching and Transition to Work
  • Employment and Work
  • Work and Competencies, Relationships Between Study and Work