BDU:The University has inaugurated a new facility built at Ba’ata for the Maritime Academy. The inauguration took place up on the presence of high-ranking government officials, university community and invited guests. On the event 71 Marine engineers and 107 Electro-technicians who had been trained for the last six months have been graduated.

Minister of Ministry of Education, Shiferaw Shigute,has pointed out on the inauguration event that Maritime Academy is one of the institutions in Ethiopia that immensely contribute to the current endeavor of assuring human resource development in the country, guided by the principles of democratic developmental state. “Our government is channeling experiences, skills and knowledge on the creation of wealth”, Shiferaw underlined.

Confirming that the field of engineering is the back bone in the national development program, Shiferaw has urged the graduates to represent their country as true ambassadors in carrying out their duties and responsibilities with great virtue, honesty and courage. So far, Shiferaw said, through employing more than 550 marine engineers in different international shipping companies, the academy has witnessed the possibility of graduating cadets who meet the global standards.

The government of Ethiopia, according to Shiferaw, in its effort to realize the Growth and Transformation Plan, focuses on the field of engineering. And hence, a large number of citizens are graduating every year in engineering. These graduates, in addition to picking up jobs in government firms, are needed to be encouraged take part in entrepreneurships. The government of Ethiopia, he confirmed, encourages and supports endeavors of this type.

Bahir Dar University sets a good example for other Ethiopian Higher Institutions in discharging this national responsibility of training skilled cadets with good skills and characters. The minister has also stressed that the good practices of the academy could be taken by other institutions. He has indicated that the academy is a living witness of the possibility of changing people in skills and character through hard work and commitment.

He has also promised, on the behalf of the government of Ethiopia, that the government will continue its relentless assistance to the academy in its endeavor of employing 1000 marine engineers in international shipping companies in the coming three years.

Thanking those who have brought the idea of launching Maritime Academy in Ethiopia, especially the late prime minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi, who believed that Ethiopia could also run a world-class maritime institution and demonstrated a courageous leadership in the brief history of the academy right from its inception, BDU’s president, Dr.Baylie Damtie, has stressed that Ethiopia is a nation where the possibility of training world-class marine engineers who meet the global standard and who could proudly serve in international shipping companies is demonstrated.

This beautiful construction, Dr.Baylie said, on this magnificent place is the work of our own visionary leaders, engineers, architects and Construction Company. “This is a true example that there is nothing that we can’t do if we are united under a common purpose. Above all, this facility is not an end in itself, but it is a means to an end which is achieving that noble goal of assuring Ethiopia’s future leadership in the realm of maritime technology.” Dr.Baylie added.

Dr.Baylie has also indicated that the trainees, being employed in international shipping companies, could transform their own lives and could hopefully establish their own companies and expand Ethiopia’s horizon of participation in international business. He urged the graduating cadets to serve with honest, responsibility and commitment since they represent their proud nation.

It is a breathtaking experience to see young Ethiopian trainees of marine engineering getting into a queue every single morning of work days to lift that proud flag of our nation so that it could fly higher up in the sky heralding a new horizon Ethiopia is conquering in maritime technology. That marvelous disciplinary demonstrations they carry out seem to metaphorically represent an army of young generation ready to seize a brand new future
Bahir Dar University Maritime Academy was officially launched on 17 October, 2011 based on a bilateral agreement between Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprises (ESLSE) and the YCF Group, under a close follow-up of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. The academy was established with a vision of training world-class marine engineers who could serve in the  international shipping companies. Beginning with graduating 44 cadets in first and second rounds, the academy has so far graduated more than 550 marine engineers including 41 Electro-technicians.
The academy has an incredible contribution in the ongoing economic development in Ethiopia. One of the most significant areas the academy is making  contribution  is on foreign currency remittance. The country is acquiring foreign currency through exporting skilled human resource of marine engineers that meet the international standards. The graduates are currently employed in various shipping companies of countries like USA, Germany, Israel, Greek, Djibouti, etc.
The country is also profiting a lot in relation to knowledge and technology transfer through acquiring experiences of other nations that have enormous skills on maritime technology. The experiences young Ethiopian marine engineers who are employed in different international shipping companies are grabbing will also be an incredible asset for the leadership the country will hopefully display in the area of maritime technology.
All cadets who took a test administered by International Maritime Organization (IMO) have successfully passed proving to the rest of the world that Ethiopia indeed has a capacity of training world class maritime engineers who could carry out great responsibilities with an extraordinary courage and discipline. Ethiopia could really handle such a great responsibility of running an institution which is of first in its kind in the history of the nation. The establishment of such an academy is very rare even in Africa, for it is only the second of its kind in the entire history of Africa.
Ethiopia is also lucky enough to pick up great lessons on some good educational practice of the academy. For instance, the astonishing disciplinary practices displayed by both the staff and the students of the academy can be taken as a good experience that could even be applied in different academic units of the university and the nation at large. The strong commitment and endurance the students of the academy demonstrate are so moving that they deserve to be extended to other fields of study within the university.
The founding principle of the academy which is a belief in teamwork with the spirit of learning from one another and cooperating with honest sense of competition has been inspirational, and it deserves to be emulated as a best practice. Rewarding and strengthening good performances and boldly confronting and punishing recklessness is one of the core values of the academy. These good practices are instrumental in transforming other academic units of the university if contextually adapted.
The most remarkable lesson to be drawn from the Academy is its practice of linking universities to industries. It is evident that universities need to be linked to industries in order to play their golden role of transforming a society. The Academy in this respect sets an excellent example. It is true that university-industry link is a matter urgent necessity that universities like ours are struggling to realize. The Academy in this regard has performed an extraordinary job of bridging the gap between the Ethiopian higher education and international maritime companies through practical promotion. And this good lesson can be picked up in order to realize this noble practice in Bahir Dar University and other Ethiopian higher institutions at large.
Currently, the academy is staffed by both expatriates and Ethiopian professionals in addition to other supportive staff. New buildings with high standard have been completed for the academy at the south western shore of Lake Tana, specifically named as Ba’ata whose inauguration is slated to be held on 20 March 2014. Moving the academy to the new facility in Ba’ata, further expansion activities of infrastructure are planned to be undertaken. It has also been planned to upgrade the capacity of the academy to graduating 1000-1500 marine engineers and Electro-technicians annually.