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Following the third round of evaluation, Addis Ababa University, the oldest higher learning institution in the country, has shortlisted five applicants who are competing to become the next president of the University.

It is to be recalled that 22 individuals from different academic backgrounds and institutions have managed to enter the competition to clinch the presidency.

Among the applicants, a dozen of them were currently working with the AAU in different fields while the rest are employed in other institutions both within and outside of Ethiopia.

The Reporter has also learnt that foreigners were among the applicants eying the top position in the biggest university of the country. However, the latest evaluation result indicates that none of the foreigners and Ethiopians teaching abroad has managed to make it through to the next stage.

In the second round of the evaluation some 13 individuals were selected to go through third stage of the competition. Out of the total 13 applicants who were shortlisted in the second round, five of them were professors while the rest have attained the assistant professorship levels.

The competitors with a rank of professor include individual such as Fikre Dessalegn (Prof.), the current president of the Ethiopian Civil Service University (ECSU); Bekele Gutema (Prof.), dean of the College of Social Sciences of AAU; Tassew Weldehana (Prof.), vice president of AAU; Masresha Fetene (Prof.), head of Ethiopian Science Academy and Emana Getu (Prof.).

The preliminary assessment showed that the 13 have passed through to the next stage where the applicants would be given a chance to present their strategic plans for the University.

After their presentation, eight of them went through to next round. These potential competitors who have passed thought to the interview phase faced a panel of 302 individuals. These panelists from the University community, particularly from the university board and Senate, students and lectures interviewed the eight shortlisted applicants, accordingly.

The applicants were evaluated in eight major parameters including their strategic management skill, knowledge on national policies, and academic management skill.

The University has announced that after the latest evaluation, five applicants are selected according to the aggregate points taken from the evaluation process which includes points for leadership capacity, strategic plan and vote from the panel.

Fikre Dessalegn (Prof.), the current president of the Ethiopian Civil Service University (ECSU) and younger brother of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn; Bekele Gutema (Prof.), dean of the College of Social Science of AAU; Tassew Weldehana (Prof), vice president of AAU; Masresha Fetene (Prof), head of Ethiopian Science Academy and Jeylu Umer (PhD) were the latest to make it to the next level.

After this, the board of the University, which is chaired by Shiferaw Shigute, will have the power to shortlist three candidates and present it to the Ministry of Education for the final selection of the president.

The successful individual will lead the university for the coming six years. This new way of selecting presidents became effective as of this year.

It is to be recalled that previously, presidents of public universities were directly appointed by the Ministry of Education and the position was not open for all applicants. The Ministry had the mandate to appoint presidents as per the recommendation of the board of directors or trustees of public universities who are mostly ministers and regional state presidents.

Since the introduction of the new way of selecting presidents, Bahir Dar University was the first to apply the system.

Based on the evaluation results, which mostly emanate from track records, educational backgrounds and professional experiences of the applicants, the Ministry of Education will have the final power to endorse the successful nominee.

Established 67 years ago, AAU – the first higher education institution in Ethiopia –has seen ten presidents so far.

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