|"Our Beloved people, in contemplating
the erection of a monument in Our honor, and We on Our Part, to express
Our satisfaction and to recognize this gratitude,
have decided that on this same spot, where Our people have resolved to build with the funds voluntarily subscribed a statue to Us, that a University be erected and established for the education of Ethiopia's youth so as to allow them and future generations to benefit from this happy event.
While giving this site for the building
and establishment of a University, to represent at the same time a monument
to your Emperor, for the service and
ADDIS ABABA UNIVERSITY — PAST
" ..test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
This verse of St. Paul was the founding motto of Addis Ababa University. It was the cradle of wisdom. Prior to 1942 (every date in this document is in Ethiopian Calendar), the number of students graduating from all the high schools in Ethiopia was not more than 70. Nevertheless, the necessity of a higher institution for those graduates was inevitable.
Addis Ababa University, sensu stricto, is not, however, a forth night
event. Several colleges and institutions were established way long before
the establishment of AAU in its present form. Lets try to track AAU’s history
starting fifty years back to date.
Addis Ababa University College-AAUC (1943 - 1954)
The task of establishing a college was trusted to Dr. Lucien Mat, a Canadian priest and director of the then Teferi Mekonnen High School (today’s Entoto Comprehensive). The first ever college in Ethiopian history was then established in today’s Science Faculty (Arat Kilo Campus) and the name "Addis Ababa University College" was coined by this Dr. Lucien Mat who subsequently served the University College as a president during the first 12 years. Emperor Haile Selassie I inaugurated the University College on the 1st of December 1943. It was inaugurated during a special ceremony by the blessing of the then Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Abune Baselius and an opening speech of the Emperor, who said "Thanks be to God! We cherished at the establishment of this University and we are mentally satisfied!" The next day, December 2, 1943, classes started officially with 9 instructors and 71 students. In the beginning, there were only some two-year certificate programmes in the fields of natural and social sciences (Science and Arts) but some years latter the University College gained its own charter (Negarit Gazetta, No. 185, July 1947) and it started four-year degree programmes.
The courses given at the University College were being tailor-made to the existing Ethiopian situation. When Eritrea was federated to Ethiopia, the University started courses on "Port Administration" in 1944. In the same year, the School of Law was established and started extension programmes. In 1945 students were able to follow Education and Administration (Management) programmes. An extension diploma programme was started in 1946.
The first ever Degree in Ethiopia was granted to 13 qualified graduates of the AAUC, 10 of them got Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) Degree in General Studies and the rest three B. A. Degree in Education. Along with its Certificate and Diploma programmes, the Science Faculty launched a Degree programme and granted the first ever Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree to 6 Biology graduates in 1950.
The University College continued initiating new programmes along with broadening and strengthening existing academic programmes. The Education Major programme was upgraded to Teachers’ Training College in 1948; the Law School started regular programmes in Law and Pre-Law in 1949; Department of Business was established in 1950 and started courses in Accounting and Business Administration; a two-year programme in sociology was launched in 1952; two research institutes were established — the Geophysical Observatory in 1950 and the Forestry Institute in 1953.
During the first 10 years since its establishment, AAUC graduated 421 students: 235 with Bachelor Degree and 196 with Diplomas and Certificates.
On March 1943, the director of the then Technical School ("Tegbare'id") presented a plan for the establishment of an Engineering College. In September 1945, the Technology College accepted students at the Tegbare’id Campus. The Director was appointed as the Dean of the College. The college was gradually upgraded and broadened and in 1948 students were registered for a B.Sc. Degree programme in Engineering. This college was particular in that it was administered by the Ministry of Education unlike the Addis Ababa University College. It is believed that this had a negative impact on its progress. Till 1953 the College produced 57 Engineers to the Country.
At the beginning of 1945 the Ethiopian Education Board decided to begin a Degree Programme in Agriculture. An agreement was signed with the U.S. government to help establish the Agricultural College. Under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, the college officially started classes on September 1945 at the campus of Jimma Technical School of Agriculture. This college was later transferred to Alemaya, Harrarghe in 1948. The first 11 graduates of this college had got their B.Sc. Degrees in Agriculture in 1949.
The Health Care College was established in 1947 at Gondar following an agreement of the Ethiopian government with World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and the U.S. government. The college started 4-year Diploma programme in October 1947 and in the next two years it started other training programmes on nursing, health care, and laboratory technicians.
|Building College (1948 - 1954)
This college was established following a technical support agreement between the governments of Ethiopia and Sweden in October 1947. In October 1948, the ´ Ethio-Swedish Building Technology Institute ª accepted 26 students. In 1951, the college was upgraded so that it can offer a 4-year degree programme in Building Engineering.Faculties and Colleges
Since 1954, various colleges, faculties and other institutions were established, upgraded and strengthened. One of the first and foremost achievements of the young University included the establishment of the Faculty of Education, which produced several teachers starting from 1957 till 1971. The programme was interrupted for some time when it restarted some years back. The School of Sociology, the College of Business Administration, the Law Faculty and the Medical Faculty were established in the same epoch. The other colleges out side Addis Ababa, including the Alemaya College of Agriculture also underwent similar upgrading activities.
ADDIS ABABA UNIVERSITY — AAU
Students of the HSIU continued and strengthened their opposition against the Emperor and his regime. They manifested in favour of the coup d’etat of 1953. They continued publishing their newspapers and newsletters. They raised the question of "land tenure". Supported by other bodies and events, their opposition led to the 1966 Ethiopian Revolution. Subsequently the university’s name was changed to Addis Ababa University. However, the revolution turned out to be anti-intellectuals. Several prominent scholars were killed, tortured and forced to immigrate and those who survived at home were morally killed. The 20-year progress of the University was heavily knocked out by the revolution. Several qualified scholars took refuge in many European and American universities, where they are still teaching. Classes were interrupted between 1967 and 1969 because of the famous "Edget Behibret" campaign. Classes were restarted in 1969 in the Addis Ababa University under the presidency of Dr. Duri Mohammed.School of Graduate Studies
After ten years of research and deliberation the Graduate Programme was established in October 1971. The first 23 graduates had got their masters degree in August 1972 from the hands of Col. Mengistu Hailemariam. Since then the graduate programme was gradually strengthened and upgraded. Currently it graduates more than 300 candidates each year in 60 different academic programmes.
Since 1983 some measures were taken to strengthen, upgrade and broaden higher institutions in the country. As a result colleges and institutions that were administered under Addis Ababa University including the Awassa College of Agriculture, Bahrdar Pedagogic College and Gondar Medical Science College are now self-administered and autonomous universities by themselves.