First LMEU Board meeting and doctoral seminar

The LMEU Project conducted its first Board meeting and doctoral seminar in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 3-6, 2018. The participants include all members of the LMEU project partner universities, newly recruited PhD students and their supervisors, and other invited participants.

The main agendas of the event are described below.

Agendas:
1. Electing the chair of the LMEU Board
 After a thorough discussion, all the board members elected Dr. Jeilu Oumar, vice president of AAU to lead the LMEU board until the end of the project.
 During his appointment as chairperson of the LMEU board, Dr. Jeilu emphasized the importance of linking the newly established Ethiopian Institute of Higher Education with the LMEU Project.
 Dr. Jeilu also stressed the importance of mutual trust between the partners of the LMEU Project. He also pointed out the necessity of ownership of the project by the partner universities.
 Board members discussed on the importance of committed and strong leadership, and emphasized the need for collegiality, respect and trust among partners.

2. Reporting on current progress of the Project and planned tasks
 A short report was presented by Prof. Seppo about the major activities that were accomplished since the start of the project, and introduced major activities that will be carried out in the future phases of the project
 Seppo pointed out the recruitment procedure of 6 PhD students from the three Ethiopian partner universities (AAU, BDU and MU). The recruitment was conducted in accordance relevant legislations pertaining to the admission of students to doctoral programs at respective partner universities.
 The Board fully approved the admission of the recruited students.

3. Conducting first doctoral seminar
 Five PhD students, Haftu Hindeya, Koye Kassa, Bultossa Hirko, Fadil Jihad, and Nigusse Reda, presented their research proposals and received constructive comments from supervisors and other invited participants. The seminar helped students improve their research ideas and consider solutions suggested by participants.

4. Discussion on Joint curriculum development (Result area 1 of the project)
 Prof. Seppo introduced the main structure of the PhD programme. He mentioned the need for double degree and cotuttele agreement to be signed between the PhD students and University of Tampere, as it would provide the PhD students to complete their studies even after the project-funding period has ended. Jussi Kivistö also briefly introduced the PhD structure and requirements at UTA.
 Based on the information provided by Seppo and Jussi, members of the partner universities underlined the need for joint PhD programme instead of double degree arrangement, as there is lack of experience at partner universities with double degree agreements.
 After a through discussion, the participants agreed to establish a taskforce from all the three Ethiopian partner universities that will be tasked with developing a joint PhD curriculum. The participants elected Dr. Kenenissa Dabi (AAU), Dr. Mulugeta Tsegay (MU), Dr. Mateb Tafere (BDU) and Mr. Haftu Hindeya (BDU) as members of the taskforce.
 The taskforce will present a report on the next LMEU Doctoral seminar that will be held in BDU by the mid of November 2017.

5. Discussion on professional training (result areas 2 of the project)
 Prof. Seppo briefly presented the purpose of the professional training and the activities that should be performed within this framework.
 The need for involving the LMEU PhD students in the development of the modules for professional training was discussed and agreed up on.

6. Discussion on the establishment of Network of African HE researchers
 Seppo introduced the purpose and importance of the result area of the project. Participants discussed how significant establishing the network would be to the higher education research practices of Ethiopian HEIs.
 Dr. Jeilu emphasized that AAU has already established the Ethiopian Institute of Higher Education which could play a vital role in the establishment of Network of African HE researchers.
 Participants agreed that further discussions should be held to establish the network.

7. Discussion on Mobility programme
 Yohannes introduced the purpose and the schedule of the mobility programme for both students and teachers.
 Six PhD students will participate the mobility programme at once. Six supervisors will also participate the mobility programme for teachers at the beginning of February 2018.
 The student mobility programme will start in January 2018 and end in May 2018.
 It was decided that Yohannes will set a plan for the exact date of the mobility programme in collaboration with partner universities, and that he will provide ffurther information about the practicalities of the mobility programme during the upcoming doctoral seminar at BDU.

Finally, the Finnish colleagues visited the Embassy of Finland and discussed some practical issues about the participation of the LMEU project at the Gender conference at BDU, as part of the Finland 100 celebration, to be hosted by the embassy.

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