Office of VPRTT, HU, organizes a Consultative Workshop

Office of VPRTT, HU, organizes a Consultative Workshop.

Office of Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer, Hawassa Universit, has organized a consultative workshop to share the findings of a research project entitled "Determinants of Digital Inclusion in Higher Education: Exploring the Ethiopian Context" that has been undertaken over the past three years with stakeholders on July 1, 2023.

The research was conducted through "Connect 2 Recover", a collaborative project between College of Education, Hawassa University and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Switzerland, that has focused on assessing the digital inclusion status of Ethiopian HEIs.

Dr. Emebet Bekele, Director General of Office of External Relations and Communication at HU, officially welcomed the participants with a brief introduction of Hawassa University, especially its experiences in international collaborations and partnerships as well as its present capacities with priority areas of collaboration.

Dr. Tafesse Matewos, Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at HU, in his opening speech stated that the VPRTT has been working tirelessly to succeed in winning and managing collaborative projects through capacity building schemes of the staff on grant writing, distributing grant calls, providing technical support, allocating modest seed money for staffs who successfully submitted grant proposals and by creating experience-sharing platforms on collaborative workshops. He also pointed out that the findings of the "Connect 2 Recover" project has great significance to the university not only because it is an indication that younger colleges like College of Education have started wining international grants but also our endeavors to build the staff capacity has started to pay off. Dr. Tafesse added that HU has also been working towards improving its digital infrastructure and human capacity in the area which is in line with the national "Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy", and the findings from this study will help to revisit some of these endeavors and to succeed in digital inclusion.

Dr. Abraham Tulu, former Dean of CoE at HU and lead researcher of the "Connect 2 Recover" project, Dr. Wondwosen Mulualem and Eng. Samson Alemayehu from IoT presneted their findings to the workshop participants for discussion and comments on the way forward.

The study explored the digital divides in the Ethiopian higher education context, and recommended solutions that could be used by all stakeholders such as the HEIs themselves, educational policy makers, NGOs and others. The researchers explained that they had conducted the survey at five Ethiopian first generation universities: Addis Ababa, Jimma, Bahir Dar, Arbaminch and Hawassa. Hence, participants of the workshop were invited from those universities and the Ministry of Education so that they take note of the research findings and decide on future efforts accordingly. There was warm discussion and different constructive comments were forwarded from participants before the closing of the one day workshop.

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