With the sudden closure of campuses across the country to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethiopian Universities are facing new challenges like Universities elsewhere in the globe. Worldwide, especially in the technologically equipped countries, the pandemic has forced universities to bring their courses online, paving the road to a new educational and research paradigm.
Global pandemics by their very nature are disruptive and force radical social and economic changes, for either good or bad. The Spanish flu triggered fostered new features to introduce socialized healthcare systems and improved housing for the poor in Europe. The cholera epidemic in 19th Century forced to the improvement of sewerage systems and access to clean water. Many other epidemics brought about different contextualized changes, with wide-range impacts. What changes does COVID-19 pandemic will bring about? What new models may emerge, once COVID-19 is passed to revolutionize teaching and research endeavors in higher institutions?
The WHO has announced that we may not live with the post COVID-19 period so soon. Thus, changes are inevitable and whatsoever the changes might be, it should not be left unguided. A University should play a major role in helping to shape the post-COVID-19 and/or the COVID-19 period and do so by reshaping the University itself.
Thus, universities must change to survive and thrive in the “new normal”. It is with such assumptions that we are conducting a continuum staff discussion to reposition Aksum University to this “new normal” and also nurture enabling operating modalities, defiant to other future similar encounters.