The establishment history of the Department of Basic Courses dates back to 1998, the year that the then St. Mary’s College (now St. Mary’s University) was founded. During the last 19 years, the Department underwent several restructuring to respond to the magnitude of its responsibilities and its varied contexts. It served as Faculty of Teacher Education for more than a decade, comprising Departments of Languages, Mathematics and Basic Science, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Education.
The Faculty launched diploma programs in the fields of English, Mathematics and Geography in2003 and ran very successful teacher training programs from which hundreds of competent graduates came out. In the same year, the Faculty also opened the Natural Science Stream (comprising the subjects Biology, Chemistry, and Physics), which offers diploma level training. Because of the remarkable performance of the graduates whose employment rate was 100% upon graduation, the programs won public credibility.
Following the directive issued by the Government in 2010, which banned Private Higher Education Institutions from running teacher education and law programs, the Faculty stopped admitting students. It was, therefore, restructured as a department. This resulted in amalgamation of the four departments into one under the name Department of Common Courses which consisted of professionals qualified and experienced in the areas of Education, Psychology, Language, Mathematics, Civic and Ethical Education, etc. It got its current name since in 2015.
Committed to its goal, the Department has continued its contribution to the overall teaching and learning endeavors of the institution in particular and the nation in general through short-term training and publication. The Department offers short-term training on diverse topics related to pedagogy, andragogy and assessment. A number of schools around it have benefited from its short-term training.
The Department also engages in collaborative initiatives. In this regard, through a joint project carried out in partnership with University College St. Mark and St. John (Marjon), the then Faculty of Teacher Education (now Department of Basic Courses) published supplementary readers for 5th to 8th graders, which were distributed to public primary readers across the nation. In addition, the Department has been working in close collaboration with the US Embassy Addis Ababa on a project called English Access Microscholarship Program. This program has enabled about 600 students attend English language and life-skills training since 2010.
The Department publishes a quarterly bulletintitled, the Teacher, which presents different research-oriented articles, views, commentaries, observations, etc, which is related to teaching-learning to its readers. It has a plan to upgrade this bulletin to a journal.
Apart from carrying out the aforementioned activities, the Department plays pivotal role in student support services. It offers tutorial services to both undergraduate and graduate students who need such support. Among the tutorial services the Department offers include Academic Writing Skills, English Language Enhancement, and Applied Mathematics for Computer Science Students.
Tel.: +251-11 553 8001/20
P. O. Box: 1211/18490