Graduate-level education tailored to the needs of the country is expected to play a crucial role by promoting entrepreneurial and private sector development, growth in the different sectors, and by enhancing the skilled manpower base, which is key to innovation and productivity, and by providing research-based policy advise to the government. In view of this, Addis Ababa University (AAU) laid out a strategic plan to train 5,000 PhD graduates in ten years domestically and to establish 14 centers of excellence in research and teaching specializing in key prioritized areas.
The expansion of higher education is not able to meet the demands of skilled workforce needed for further economic and social transformation of the country.The key to increase human capital levels and produce a highly skilled workforce lies in the strengthening of universities and institutions of higher learning in terms of the increase of academic staff with academic degrees. In addition, the drastic enrollment expansion of the basic education sector, as part of Education for All policies aiming, as stipulated in one of the Millennium development goals (goal number four on education), has resulted in an increasing number of people aiming for post-graduate education.
- The scientific issues and the basis of the layout of the training program
The scientific issues identified by AAU in the fields of management and economics are related to the specific Ethiopian development situation and do interplay with many other scientific fields. The overriding objectives of the Government of Ethiopia are poverty eradication and sustainable development. As indicated in its GTP-I, the vision of the Government of Ethiopia is to “build an economy which has a modern and productive agricultural sector with enhanced technology and an industrial sector that plays a leading role in the economy sustaining economic development and securing social justice and increasing per capita income of citizens to reach the level of those in middle-income countries” (Federal Ministry of Finance and Economic development, 2010:21). Ethiopia also aspires to become a middle-income country by 2025, without increasing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through robust agricultural and industrial growth that establishes close linkage between the agricultural and the industrial sectors.
This policy orientation and aspirations entail structural transformation which require adequate skilled manpower that will embark on technological and scientific advancement, ensure sustainable economic development, and enhance the country’s transformation and competitiveness. The government acknowledged the importance of scientific and technological human resource and put in place educational policy that delivers the needed manpower. It has been indicated the level of qualified human power, capable of transferring foreign technology, is low, and that the national education and training system will need to put in place a strong emphasis on producing the needed expertise in human development.
To grow the Ethiopian economy out of the per industrial and agriculture based societal structures needs expertise to collect and interpret new and recent data to gain knowledge about a different and fast-growing Ethiopia. Issues and areas to study are how private sector can sustain and improve economical growth through the development of small and medium sized companies, the renewal and growth of family businesses, how entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives can be instruments for renewal of private and public sector, how the health sector can meet needs through improved management, improved health economics and establishment of management information systems, how the dynamics and interplay of macro and micro economics aspects can be understood and impact the policy-making process of the country for further development, how regional economics within Ethiopia and between neighboring countries effect regional development and growth and what policy implications new findings implicate.
The PhD program in economics started in 2010 and the PhD program in management started in 2013. Although the department of economics has a greater number of senior faculty than the department of management, It still requires strengthened effort to sustain the program. The program in economics has basically 2 years of course work and two years of thesis, while the program in management has slightly less course work and slightly more time for thesis, both programs assuming 4 years of full time studies to graduate.
In economics the program will be supporting AAU with 5 PhD courses every second year and in management with 6 PhD courses annually. This will be reduced to 1-4 courses in the respective programs at the end of the program through the co-teaching practice. 50% of courses will be taught in Ethiopia and 50% in Sweden. This percentage can change, if and when the regional initiative (EID)(see below) will be operational.
In both programs a total of 30 PhD students, 15 in each discipline, will be supervised annually. New students will be admitted when old students graduate. Supervision will be organized during two bi-annual supervision seminars, beside individual supervision when students meet supervisors physically or through internet.
To build the in-house capacity and sustainability of the AAU PhD programs important additional components like research collaboration, the organization of and participation in international conferences, the involvement in policy dialogues, the invitations to the Career Development Initiative (CDI), the post-doc program and the development of a database with unique data at AAU will be integrated parts of the program.