Education Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiangi has decried politicization of university education, saying it had eroded capacity of local institutions to offer quality education, research and innovation. The scramble for ethnic representation in the varsities’ top management, the CS said, often happen without quality considerations hence hampering service delivery.
To strengthen higher education, Dr. Matiangi offered a panoply of policy recommendations touching on management, financing and access. He urged University Management Boards (UMB) to effectively play their advisory role in order to reduce wastage and misadventure in the institutions.
On higher education financing, the CS said the government was considering reviewing Higher Education Loans Board legislations to allow private entities such as banks to put in money. This, he said, would allow more students access affordable credit facilities to finance their higher education.
In addition, the CS urged varsities to take advantage of the credit facility that the government secured via a German Bank to further their research capacity.
Dr. Matiangi said the government equally plans to rope in varsities in the execution of national projects for local capacity building.
As a response to the increasing number of students seeking higher education, Dr. Matiangi said the ministry was at advanced stages of developing a bill on Open University of Kenya; where students can use technology to acquire education online. Besides opening up higher education space, the move would allow Kenyan academics in diaspora to teach and mentor students virtually.
Dr. Matiangi was speaking Tuesday February 28, 2017 when he opened the 15th Universities Exhibition at Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi.
The exhibitions organized by the Commission for University Education (CUE) brought together Kenyan universities, select industry players and agencies under the Ministry of Education.
CUE Chairman Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha urged Kenyans to change their perspective on higher education. Academic papers, he warned, should not be the basis of going to a university. Instead, he exhorted, Kenyans should prioritize learning as well as attitudinal and behavior change as they go through university education.
JKUAT which is participating in the exhibitions has on display an array of innovations in a number of areas including agriculture, engineering, food security, ICT and energy.
Among the innovations by JKUAT are: Taifa Laptop and tablet, briquetting machine, fruit jams, and cricket based foods.
The event themed Positioning Universities in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer in the Digital Era, comes to an end Thursday, and also features expert discussions on the status of university education in Kenya.