By Bileh Jelan @BilehJelan
Addis Abeba, Spetember 04/2020 – “It is a major milestone with regards to the development of Afaan Oromo. I believe it will be of great importance when we discuss the history of the development of Afaan Oromo,” said Dr. Teshale Dejene, the Dean of the Institute of Languages Studies and Journalism at Wollega University where on August 28, four PhD candidates in the Afaan Oromo department have successfully defended their theses in Afaan Oromo.
This is the first time a PhD thess is defended in Afaan Oromo, and “that in itself could be a major push for further development of Afaan Oromo,” Dr. Teshale told Addis Standard.
Daani’eel Lammeessaa, Fiqaaduu Qana’aa, Magarsaa Dhinsaa and Margaa Gammadaa have become the first to study PhD, as well as write and defend their PhD theses in Afaan Oromo Language . According to the institute of Languages Studies and Journalism, their theses were on the topics of Linguistics, Afaan Oromo Teaching, Literature and Folklore and Curriculum Design in Afaan Oromo.
The event is hailed by many as a major milestone that could change the face of the Ethiopian educational system in the years to come. The efforts that lead to the success of this initiative was community driven, says Dr. Teshale of Wollega University. “The candidates had a huge part in the initiative finding the success it had with the help of the community but it was the university’s effort of organizing and supporting the candidates by all means was the main drive behind the success of the initiative.”
The initiative saw the backing of sister universities around the country. “We had cooperation with sister universities around the country. We had support from the ministry of higher education and science and other interested parties and individuals,” Dr Teshale said, adding that “It is a great honor that Wollega University was the lead institute that saw the realization of this long awaited dream.” He talked about the hope for Wollega University to become the leading institute in the development of Afan Oromo and a world class educational hub.
Wollega University President Dr. Hasan Yusuf in his post announcing the the breakthrough said that despite its popularity, Afaan Oromo language has been largely absent in academia. “'[History] has changed here at Wollega University. It’s a milestone achievement for both Afaan Oromo language and Wollega University. We are going to celebrate it in a big event.” Addis Standard’s attempts to speak with the fresh graduates were unsuccessful due to tight schedules.
Wollega University (WU) is a public higher educational institution established in February 2007 by enrolling 851 students in 17 departments under four Faculties: Business and Economics, Education, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. At the time, the University had 140 academic staff, and about 123 administrative support staff.
Located in the outskirt of Nekemte city, some 310 km west of Addis Abeba in Western Oromia regional state, the University also runs two campuses: Gimbi and Shambu Campuses. Currently Wollega University runs 82 undergraduate, 45 graduate programs and 5 PhD programs in the three campuses. AS