Office of the Vice President for Administration and Student Services (VPASS)
It has been long realized that the in-house PhD program mostly supported by the Ethiopia government (staff salaries, overload payments, publication incentives, research fund for masters and PhD students, providing field vehicles and the associated costs, family support funds for PhD candidates coming outside of Addis Ababa, etc.) needed some critical support from the Sida/Sweden and a few other international donors. These came in the form of inviting foreign professors for block teaching, providing the resources to update the AAU libraries with current e-journals and books and mini-printing facilities, sending PhD students to get access to the state-of-the-art laboratories of Swedish and other developed countries universities and consultation programs with their foreign supervisors, inviting external examiners at dissertation defenses to see how AAU in-house PhD candidates stand the challenging rigorous assessments of international examiners, soliciting laboratory supplies such as consumables (lamps, chemicals, etc.) and support to female and disability students in the graduate programs.
Along with the above, Sida supported in the capacity building of the administrative workers that support the smooth functioning of the in-house PhD programs by way of providing resources to develop software for financial/property management, student record keeping, and other supports.
As times changes in these days of technology transformations by the year, the software developed by Sida have been replaced by the Oracle-based software developed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, a mandatory requirement of all public institutions and ministries. This now requires support in finding the right knowledgeable persons in Oracle-based systems, developing the skills of administration workers involved in the management of PhD programs to be transformed from manual workers in the processing of financial, procurement and property management processes of the in-house PhD program activities.
It should be added that without these capacity upgrading of the qualification of the support system, all the efforts made in the PhD trainings and research would be futile. In short, if the appropriate financial and technical reports are not generated at the right time for funding collected from donors, the goals of development for which the PhD graduates are needed for the various development endeavors will not be achieved in the time plan the government setup.
AAU therefore proposes some technical training packages to administrative staff in the areas of:
- University leadership training to AAU leaders who are mostly academic staff rather than professional administrators or institution leaders, where such a training requires benchmarking experiences of other countries, namely, Sweden.
- Acclimatization programs to procurement and properties administration to work on software that is interfaced with the transactions of procurement, storage, protection, issuance and control of properties
- Acclimatization of budget and finance workers to handle transactions at AAU of projects that are run parallel in Swedish universities
- Human resources management trainings regarding technical staff that provide services to PhD students and the academic staff that supervise them in offices, laboratories, field activities, record keeping at the registrar, and other AAU functions.