New Postgraduate Program Initiated

 

Haramaya University in collaboration with Purdue University, one of the prominent universities the United States of America, held a four day curriculum designing and discussion sessions in the University’s Resource Center from July 31 – August 03, 2016.

It can be recalled that Haramaya University has won a proposal worth $6 million and start the works to be the African Center of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation with the support of World Bank. This huge honor that has been bestowed upon the University has been initiated with a curriculum development for a new post graduate program that integrates climate smart agriculture with gender sensitive agricultural technology and skill development

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The Purdue University team together with representatives from HU spent four days discussing on and developing a curriculum for the new program and visiting some facilities and laboratories of the University.

A draft curriculum has been developed and academic staff from Purdue University will be involved in some of the course delivery. This linkage will be helpful in creating a partnership between the universities and providing with the opportunities to have exchange student programs.

Prof. Gebisa Ejeta, who is a graduate from HU, now gives classes at Purdue University. He said he is happy to see HU become the center of excellence and “the physical environment of the University is good and the hard work your academic staff and researchers put is admirable but the facilities are lacking to start a new program. Some facilities are in good condition but lack fluent lab technicians or researchers to utilize them properly, while others need much improvement. And the universities are in discussion on how best to address these issues. Because what you see in other countries and what you see here are quite different; and we would like to collaborate to address this.” The collaboration between the universities continues in curriculum and syllabus development, giving courses jointly and conducting researches.

Haramaya University Academic Affairs Vice President, Prof. Nigussie Dechasa pointed out that this is not the first time that the two universities started collaborating. He said, “As Prof. Gebisa is HU’s graduate, he has been contributing a lot to the University and to his country. Even though we haven’t worked on a specific project together before, the two universities have been in contact for various reasons. And this is a good opportunity for both of us to be involved in and do a good job.”

The program will also give more focus and consideration to gender sensitive agriculture, local wisdom and local knowledge, socioeconomic issues and institutional policies. It is an all-encompassing program and will be given in a multi and interdisciplinary form.

When asked about possible challenges, Prof. Gebisa said, “It would be challenging to give the courses with continuity as working around the academic calendars of the two universities might prove to be tricky. How would the students learn in a continuous manner and how would they learn from instructors from Purdue University in a short amount of time? All these are challenges and we haven’t decided on anything. We know the program needs much dedication and hard work but we hope that if we work together, we can overcome these challenges.”

Prof. Nigussie in his part said, “As this is a new program it needs time, commitment and peoples’ dedication to design this program. Much of the work is on program design and we’ve initiated that. The next step is to go in detail and put the specific description of courses and then the senate has to approve it so the work that awaits us is quite a lot.”

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This particular program is a great opportunity to Haramaya University as it would put the University in the world map as a center for studies in climate change, climate smart agriculture and biodiversity said Prof. Nigussie. It is also a good opportunity to the Ethiopian community and people interested in climate change and its consequences as they would have a world-class education right here in Ethiopia.

 

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