The African countries show globally the highest degree of population growth. The Ethiopian capital is through birth rate and migration among the fastest growing cities. The Ethiopian government has invested increasingly in infrastructure, including new universities, and has decided to build new urban centers, including new towns during the last years, but still Ethiopia has the smallest number of Schools dedicated to the built environment per capital in the world.
Therefore, there is a high demand of highly educated Architects, Planners and Construction Managers; a high demand of design models based on the Ethiopian context for new towns, new public space and new public facilities, incl. urban landscape and recycling; a high demand of scientific and applied research concerning indigenous construction material, building technology, housing and infrastructure, incl. teaching material; a high demand of good governance and best practice regulations in planning, construction and building.
Design and project management, building construction and building technology, preservation of natural and historic heritage, waste management and environmental protection represent grave weaknesses or do not exist yet in the education landscape. Urban housing is based on foreign, imported models. Construction material, building machinery and labor forces are imported, too. The Evaluation Report of AQUIN (German accreditation body for ecbp’s study programs) already suggests developing a center of excellence and role model in the Ethiopian system of Higher Education at AAU Campus south.
This advice was followed by introducing the ETHIOPIAN INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND CITY DEVELOPMENT (EiABC) as an urgent response to the demands of Ethiopia and its younger generations.
There are very relevant reasons that make it mandatory to establish such an Institute:
- The new Institute is for Ethiopia the first of its kind. It must achieve the model role for the country, in terms of teaching, learning, research and services. Therefore, it must perform to high international benchmarks. The fulfillment of this requirement is very strongly influenced by its location, the presence and exchange of excellent teachers and competitive students, of outstanding research professors and outstanding post-graduates, of equally demanding partners in government, industry and business.
All these partners do exist and come together in the country’s capital city of Addis Ababa. The capital is the hub for all incoming international guests. It is the place where the high ranking academics from abroad come primarily and where the best professionals of the country reside and work. It is the seat of Federal government agencies, of headquarters of most industrial and business companies. They all are the most relevant partners of the new Institute concerning teaching programs, research projects and expert services. No other place in Ethiopia can offer the equivalent qualities.
- The new Institute, its faculty and its former graduates will act as senior partners for establishing similar Institutes in the Regions of Ethiopia. This is, no doubt, an important task of equal capacity building among the regions.
- The new Institute will remain an autonomous, but integral part of Addis Ababa University. In addition, the faculty, staff or graduates of the new Institute may need in the future to collaborate with other high ranking AAU Institutes or AAU Departments concerning research and services, e.g. with Civil Engineering, Economics, Sociology, Agriculture, Forestry, Geography, Geology, History, etc. Thus, vicinity, easy accessibility and easy communication are required.
The urgency for academically trained professionals and the high shortage of qualified academic teachers/scientists will require the collaboration with institutions abroad. On the base of the recently signed agreement (November 27, 2008) between the Swiss Federal Council and the Government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia on Capacity Building and Research Partnership between Swiss and Ethiopian Institutions in the Fields of Science and Technology the present collaboration of EiABC and the Federal Institute of Technology ETHZ, Switzerland, could be strengthened to a long term partnership. Such a partnership would involve junior as well as senior faculty members of both institutions concerning teaching and research.
Similar partnerships should be implemented with Universities in Germany already having ties to EiABC, e.g. Technical University of Darmstadt, University of Konstanz, Technical University of Weimar, Technical University of Berlin and others.
A good governed Institute is considered as an essential prerequisite for achieving the goal of producing high quality technology professionals and relevant research. Academic institutions are organisations that deal with teaching and learning, fundamental and applied research as well as technology transfer. Accordingly, university governance is concerned with the determination of values inside universities, their system of decision making and resource allocation, their mission and purposes, the patterns of authority and hierarchy, and the relationship of universities to other institutions, stakeholders, sectors and so forth.
Good governance needs to be transparent, accountable, responsive, effective and efficient, participatory; consensus orientated and has to respect the laws.
The change of mentality, attitudes and culture is a prerequisite to follow new paths and to set-up new structures. Thus, a different way of thinking and acting cannot simply be prescribed. People need to understand why it is necessary to change their own familiar attitudes. It is also to understand that a reform is a process that needs time and the involvement of all: government, stakeholders and actors. A reform cannot just be done by a few but needs the support of many, if possible all. Change processes need enthusiast and brave people on all levels, who are willing to experiment new paths and go for it. In addition, a trustful and positive environment is needed to facilitate the reform. Consequently, governance has to be organized as a process to be accompanied by change management.
The Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EI-ABC) will be a home for Architecture, Urbanism and Construction Technology and Management that is focused on educating professionals and providing university-level knowledge to serve Ethiopia’s needs. Therefore, the following missions are to be followed:
- To educate prospective graduates, provide knowledge and develop skills in design, building technology, management, and planning for the field of architecture, the building industry, construction management, as well as city and town actors in the public and private sector.
- To conduct technology-based applied research, projects and studies that are based on priorities that reflect the needs of the country, the regions, woredas, kebele and the private business.
- To create an environment that is conducive to the cultivation of social skills and entrepreneurship among students and staff
- To serve as a model for other educational institutions within the country and provide them with the necessary technological education and advanced training
- To cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in promoting and developing local, regional and national technological know-how
- The new Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EI-ABC) shall be understood as an institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge in the core disciplines relevant to the formation of design. Design is understood as a heuristic methodology of an integrative discipline.
The ambition must be to promote future oriented strategies in Architecture and Architectural Design, Building Technology and Structural Design, Project and Construction Management, City Development and Urban Design, Urban Ecology and Landscape Design, as well as Cultural Heritage, History and Theory of Ethiopian Architecture that implement new capacities regarding the prospective development of Ethiopia and its professions in building.
- EI-ABC shall become a model Institute and laboratory for excellence in teaching, learning, applied research and practice in the fields of architecture, building construction and city development. The academic work needs to introduce guidelines for the prospective development of Ethiopia into a technologically transformed, however, sustainable society, moving from academic to applied research. Design and Research as the key principles of the new institute will provide the umbrella for this laboratory.
- EI-ABC shall be attractive in international university partnerships and networks.
The following values should serve as the basis for EiABC:
Academic freedom and autonomy
The EiABC makes use of its academic freedom and institutional autonomy in order to improve its services and prevents its activities from being subjected to unnecessary or inappropriate interventions or misuse by its own members.
The EiABC strives to reach its full potential in order to fulfill its social responsibility through the active participation of its students and staff in community development activities and public services. It aligns its activities in such a way that it is able to carry out the social responsibility bestowed upon it as a public institution. It serves society by bringing about positive changes and contributing to social transformation.
High levels of performance and professionalism
In order to ensure exemplary performance, EiABC operates with the highest possible standards of professionalism and ethics and seeks to provide high-quality services as efficiently as possible.
EiABC leadership is dedicated to excellence and has a strong will to succeed and excel in its endeavors. It is characterized by the integrity and competence needed to accomplish its mission and a resolute focus on the strategic issues.
On March 6, 2010 the new Ethiopioan Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development was inaugurated with an official event, where the Ministries officially introduced the change management process to the public. In this event, the new leaders, the new organizational structures with all boards were introduced to students, staff and the interested public.