Project 1: Improving teaching and research processes of AMU by enhancing ICT and library automation

Arba Minch University currently has five campuses in the city of Arba Minch, interconnected by an optical fiber network. It has more than 34,000 students and 4000 employees, depending on reliable information and computing  technology services.  The University’s Information and Communication Technology Directorate (ICTD) and Library System are the two major units serving the diverse information need of the university communities. While ICTD is responsible for implementation, management and support of the University’s ICT services, and the library system provides access to scholarly information resources. Currently ICTD administers computer facilities throughout all campuses. Almost all administrative and academic offices and all computer facilities are networked and connected to internet. AMU has a broadband internet connection of 200 Mbps. Other infrastructure including four video conference rooms, digital signage, Voice over internet telephony, network based security cameras and wireless internet access are in place. Services such as web hosting, e-Learning, email, student management information and digital library system are provided under the administration of ICTD. On the other hand, the university library system also  underwent continuous progress and brought changes in services and infrastructures. It established five more branch libraries in each campus. Recently, the library system has started automation of core library services (acquisition, catalogue, circulation and loans), yet only the Online public access catalogue (OPAC)service is implemented. Even though AMU has maintained its motivation to improve ICT and Library services from its own means, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, support and  improve the existing services and infrastructure. It is necessary to undertake capacity building in collaboration with partners to expand the capabilities of the team in order to upgrade the level of ICT and library services. The Flemish partner’s previous projects in the country, particularly support in ICT and library services of Universities, have significantly improved their capacity and services. AMU’s existing successful relationships with Flemish universities in past and on-going projects were the trigger to seek further cooperation through this timely project proposal.

Currently, the Ethiopian government is working rigorously to eradicate poverty within a short period of time, drafting a comprehensive policy and strategy framework referred as the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Development of ICT services and infrastructure is one of the issues given highest priority, in particular in Higher Education Institutions. This project has a significant relevance for AMU to create a well-educated human resource capacity, equipped with knowledge and information skills. AMU will support this by making ICT services and infrastructure as integral part of its education system.

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