We accompany Ethiopian universities on their way to applied sciences

In the project "Transformation or Comprehensive Universities to Universities of Applied Sciences", Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, FH Münster - University of Applied Sciences and the Centre for Higher Education - CHE accompany 15 selected Ethiopian former comprehensive universities on their way to becoming Universities of Applied Sciences. Within the framework of the project, training and consultation formats on UAS management and UAS teaching and learning are implemented. In the project, we seek exchange with higher education policy actors in Ethiopia in order to enrich the differentiation and transformation process with the lessons learned from our project and to help shape developments in the Ethiopian higher education space. The project is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education.

Project Goals

At the end of the project's lifetime, the following project goals should be achieved:

  • Managerial and administrative staff have developed their competences in the field of UAS management and marketing as well as the administration and conceptualisation of application-oriented study programmes. They are able to initiate and manage cooperation with the labour-market.
  • Teachers have enhanced their capacity in competence-oriented and gender and diversity-sensitive teaching and the use of digital tools for teaching.
  • UAS students have broadened their skills relevant to the labour market.
  • First and foremost, the 15 new UAS, but also the Ministry of Science and Education, the Ministry of Labour and Skills, and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. professional associations) have acquired a good understanding of how German UAS function; they will have received evidence-based recom-mendations for the further development of the Ethiopian UAS system.

Project Background

Despite increasing numbers of graduates, there is a high unemployment rate in many African countries, including Ethiopia. Often, the qualifications graduates attain during their studies do not match the skills the labour market needs. This is related to the fact that there is no tradition of close cooperation between industry and business and higher education institutions in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government recognised the importance of closer cooperation between the educational and private sector and puts it at the centre of various policy strategies e.g. in the new Higher Education Policy and Strategy of December 2020 and its 5-year plan or the new Ethiopian Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy and Strategy of November 2020. With the differentiation of the higher education system and the accompanying transformation of selected universities into Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS), a further step is being taken towards the employment-oriented qualification of young Ethiopians. This transformation process is complex and challenging: practice- and skill-oriented modes of teaching and learning have to be implemented and curricula have to integrate practical experience. Apart from that, academics have to develop an application-oriented perspective on teaching, research and innovation and - last but not least - relations to business, industry and labour markets have to be developed. For all this, an Ethiopian approach is needed. However, Ethiopian UAS do not have to start from scratch, they could benefit from the experiences and practices of UAS around the world, especially in Europe. The German UAS sector looks back on 50 years of experience and is able to contribute with numerous solutions to the challenges mentioned above. In addition to the members of the project consortium, the UAS7, Germany's network research-intensive universities of applied sciences, form a good network for exchange.

The project is implemented in the framework of the Ethio-German Sustainable Training and Education Programme, supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by GIZ in partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education with the aim to increase the employability of UAS students and graduates, job seekers and self-employed persons in the informal sector, especially women. The programme is also aimed at the following intermediaries: UAS teaching and training staff as well as managers and leadership, in-company trainers, technical and managerial staff of the partner ministries and subordinate authorities.

Project Structure

The project will be implemented in four project areas:

  • Stakeholder consultation: Work packages to ensure the relevance of the project activities for the Ethiopian context and contributing to the roll-out of the UAS concept strategic decision-making on the macro level (ministries etc.). The area extends over the entire course of the project.
  • Training activities: Work packages for capacity-building for managers, administra-tors, teachers and students. The trainings take part before the change project implementation (see below) and the project coachings can start.
  • Change project implementation: Work packages for the successful implementation of change projects in the field of UAS study programme provision and teaching. The change project implementation will begin after the training activities are finished.
  • Study tours: Work packages for introducing Ethiopian UAS managers to German UAS. The study tours will show how German UAS are structured and how those are working in collaboration with the different stakeholders.


Supported by UAS7, the network of research-intensive universities of applied sciences in Germany, UAS Osnabrück, FH Münster - UAS and the Centre for Higher Education - CHE are implementing the project. The following persons are part of the core project team:

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