The Cabinet Secretary, Information Communication and Technology Dr. Fred Matiang’i has commended JKUAT for providing practical training skills to students whose contribution towards the Country’s transformation was now becoming a reality. He said their desirable and relevant innovations that emanated from their intensive researches that complimented the Government’s effort in the realization of the Country’s Vision 2030 were highly appreciated.
Dr. Matiang’i stated that the University’s move was the only sure path that Institution’s of higher learning needed to follow if Kenyan’s were to be empowered and become self-reliant.
Addressing staff and students during the Launch of the Laptops for Students project, a public /private partnership between JKUAT & Samsung Electronics East Africa Ltd, that saw the first consignment of about 1000 laptops presented to first year students of the University on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, Dr. Matiang’i said the government was impressed by the role played by JKUAT of empowering Kenyans with relevant training skills that enabled most of them become employers immediately after their studies.
He lauded the historic partnership between the two, terming it the first ever and greatest decision made between a public University and a private company in the region during this digital era. “It is no doubt a high time, he opined, “that Universities in the country led the way in helping the Government achieve the Country’s Vision 2030, but this can only be done if you encourage the ownership of laptops by your students by between 60 and 65% to raise Internet accessibility,” he told the enthusiastic gathering which included the University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga, Samsung’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Robert Ngeru and the Director, Kenya Education Network (KENET) Prof. Meoli Kashorda. He pledged his ministry’s support for the partnership.
Dr. Matiang’i disclosed that his ministry would soon enter into a partnership with JKUAT to help it come up with a Cyber Security Policy that would help arrest the many cases of cyber crimes in the country. For a start, he told the gathering, his ministry would wish to start with about 200 interns based at JKUAT to learn about Cyber security after which they would then be deployed to all the 47 counties in the country to help improve and strengthen the skills of those already in the regions.
In her welcoming remarks, Prof. Imbuga said her University had upgraded its campus network infrastructure by over 400% spending close to Ksh. 80 Million, and was currently targeting to improve its bandwidth capacity by over 100% in the current financial year with the aim of attaining the recommended bandwidth of 10 Mbps/1000 students.
And in complimenting the Country’s Vision 2030, Prof. Imbuga further added, her University had come up with an incubating company in the form of the JKUAT Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park which intended to nurture innovators so that upon maturity, they would come up with start-ups businesses that would create employment for the masses in the country. The Technology Park is already operational, and will host the local assembling of laptops as one of its mandates, she told the Minister.
On his part, Mr. Ngeru, Samsung’s Chief Operating Officer pointed out that his company was determined to increase the knowledge base in the region, especially now that the use of internet continued to be on the rise. It has so far grown by 40% in the past one year. He advised students to be focused and utilize the laptops for the intended purpose of trying to develop content relevant for their education and the country as a whole.
He pledged his company’s support to champion the software development for the good of the student’s and the country. It was for the interest of the same development, he stressed, that his company lowered the laptops rates for the students by 25% to enable JKUAT realize its dream.
Commending JKUAT for its leadership in ICT, KENET Director, Prof. Kashorda lauded the University for upgrading its Internet infrastructure which he said had made it become one of the largest consumers of KENET’s bandwidth in the country. This, he noted, had enabled it to serve the entire University community with relative ease.
Others who made remarks during the occasion were Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, and the JKUSO student’s leader, Mr. Halake Guyo who expressed his gratitude to the Vice Chancellor and management for implementing the students’ wish.
During the function, a memorandum of understanding between JKUAT and Samsung was signed to officialize the scheme which will be realized through installments.