The Research and Knowledge Management Office (RaKMO) began as a Research and Institutional Evaluation Unit which was renamed, in 2003, as the Center for Educational Improvement, Research and Quality Assurance. In 2010, the name was changed to RaKMO to accommodate the expanding role of the Office as catalyst between teaching-learning and knowledge generation as well as outreach services of the University.
i. Areas of Responsibilities/Mandates of RaKMO
The overall mandate of RaKMO is to facilitate research, publication, community outreach, skills building through need-based or demand-driven training programs as well as providing consultancy services as part of the University’s commitment to national and regional development. By so doing, RaKMO strives to promote excellence, ensure quality and expand access to research outputs in Ethiopia and beyond.
ii. Current and Past Engagements
Since its establishment more than a decade and a half ago, RaKMO has been providing all-rounded support to the SMU’s staff to carry out research activities that have institutional and national significance. Among others, RaKMO organizes a number of events such as seminars, conferences and workshops on a wide-range of issues relevant to higher education in Ethiopia, Africa and the world at large. Some of the themes of these events revolve around quality, accessibility, affordability, equity, relevance, and roles of higher education, both private and public, in sustainable development at national and international levels.
iii. Major flagship National and International knowledge-sharing Platforms of RaKMO/SMU
RaKMO has put in place a variety of platforms to promote dialogue, professional deliberations and knowledge and experience sharing. These platforms are inclusive. They encourage all the university communities and professionals in the business and industry to take part in diverse institutional, national and international issues of common interest. The International Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa, the Multi-Disciplinary Seminar, the Open and Distance Learning Seminar, the Annual Research Review Meeting, and the Annual National Student Research Forum have created invaluable opportunity for academicians, students and professionals within Ethiopian and abroad to share their research findings and experiences with their counterparts.
- International Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa
This Conference began in 2003 as a national forum on Private Higher Education in Ethiopia and continued in this manner until 2011. Given the increasing interest shown by participants from Africa and the rest of the world, the Conference was renamed, in 2012, as the International Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa and has become one of the rare opportunities for the discussion of broader regional and international issues impacting higher education in Africa and globally.
The conference aims at facilitating the exchange of ideas among academics, researchers, policy makers, implementation agencies, the private sector, and other stakeholders who could contribute to the improvement of higher education at national and continental levels. The conference also aims at creating opportunities for knowledge generation, dissemination and sharing of experiences from scholars of different countries. Such practice in turn will pave the way for enhanced collaboration in the continent towards ensuring quality, accessibility and relevance of higher education in Africa. Papers presented at the conference are published in Proceedings and are distributed to stakeholders.
This Seminar is one of the research events RaKMO has been organizing since 2009 with the aim of giving the staff and external researchers with the opportunity to share findings and experience from their research undertakings. Like other research events, the Seminar aims at promoting innovation and encourages the culture of knowledge transfer among academician, researchers, development agents and practitioners in different disciplines. Moreover, it is believed that the Seminar will help institutions to develop problem-solving skills through research activities and thereby contribute to the overall national development.
- Annual National Student Research Forum
RaKMO has been organizing the Annual Student Research Forum since 2007for both graduate and undergraduate students. The overall purpose is not only to create opportunity for the students to present their senior essays and share their experiences but also to encourage those who will pursue their studies further at postgraduate levels. This forum also plays an important role in terms of helping students improve their presentation skills. Accordingly, graduating students from different public and private universities in Ethiopia have been sharing the results of their Senior Essays to fellow students and learn from each other’s experiences. Papers presented at the Forum are published in the Proceedings.
- Open and Distance Learning Seminar
RaKMO in partnership with the College of Open and Distance Learning (CODL) St Mary’s University has been organizing the Annual Open and Distance Learning Seminarsince 2012 with an exclusive focus of exploring the opportunities and challenges of Open and Distance Learning in Ethiopia and elsewhere. The Seminar attracts different participants from various government agencies, public/private higher learning institutions and research institutions.
- Annual Research Review Meeting
The annual Research Review Meeting is another platform organized annually by RaKMO exclusively for academic staff of the University. The Research Review Meeting evaluates the research proposals submitted by St. Mary’s University academic staff; provides funds for proposals that meet the requirements and shares the experience and research findings of previously sponsored research projects with the university community.
SMU in general and RaKMO in particular is working with relevant partners and stakeholders which play considerable roles in promoting quality higher education in Africa. Some of these include:
- The Federal Ministry of Education, Ethiopia;
- The Association of African Universities (AAU) based in Accra, Ghana;
- The African Union Commission for Human Resources, Science and Technology;
- The International Institute of Capacity Building for Africa (IICBA) of UNESCO;
- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD);
- The Global E-Schools Community Initiative, based in Nairobi, Keya;
- The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Ethiopia
- The Federal Ministry of Communication and Information Technology;
Participants of the 14th International Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa, 12-13 July 2016, African Union Conference Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
P. O. Box: 1211