The Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) has admitted the fourth cohort of 124 graduate students. The students are expected to undertake masters and doctorate studies in various disciplines such as engineering, mathematics and molecular biology and biotechnology.
78 of the young scientists will pursue PhD while the rest are admitted in masters degree programmes. The number of female students has also gone up from 18 in 2015 intake to 31. In terms of diversity, the November 2016 intake brings together nationals of 30 countries compared to 11 at the first admission in 2012.
Addressing the orientation ceremony, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga noted that despite its huge natural resource endowments, Africa still faced a number of shortcomings. She therefore urged the students to familiarize themselves with the African situation and engineer innovative solutions that can spur Africa’s socio-economic transformations.
“Pan African University was therefore started to produce a new generation of African scientists who can contribute to the realization of the continent’s aspirations as captured in the Agenda 2063,” explained Prof. Imbuga.
The Vice Chancellor also challenged the students to form academic networks that can be used beyond graduate school to foster Africa’s integration through research and innovation.
Evans Mugoya Atambo from the Ministry of Education’s Directorate of Higher Education said the Kenya government had dedicated a budget line to ensure smooth and successful implementation of PAUSTI.
The official also commended the Government of Japan for the steadfast support of higher education in Africa; first through JKUAT and later, by coming on board as the lead thematic partner for PAUSTI.
Prof. Tsunoda Manabu who represented Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at the ceremony informed the students that the Agency remains committed to support Pan African University.
He challenged the students to use their time productively, forge international linkages and work closely with the faculty towards actualizing their academic and research aspirations.
PAUSTI Director, Prof. Gabriel Magoma urged the students to exemplify excellence in all their undertakings, much like their predecessors had done. He reminded the young scientists that they were joining one of the most successful institutes of the PAU hence a head start in their academic journey.
Hanningtone Simiyu, A Kenyan who has been admitted to pursue a doctorate degree in Mathematics, expressed optimism that he and his colleagues would get necessary skills and competencies to drive the African dream forward.
“It is time for us as Africans to believe in ourselves. We must change our attitude and work towards self-sustainability,” Simiyu said, adding that success of Africa depends on Africans.
Another student, Tholakele Mahlangu from Swaziland said she was hopeful the opportunity to study at PAUSTI will expose her to the rest of the continent through interactions by students and faculty, who are internationally sourced.
PAUSTI, which is hosted at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, has registered an increase in student numbers and diversity since it admitted 54 pioneering students drawn from 11 countries in November 2012.
The Institute held its inaugural graduation in November 2014 where the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma conferred degrees to 54 students.
PAU is an ingenious initiative by the African Heads of State and Government that aims to leverage higher education, scientific and technological research to drive the continent’s social integration, economic development and global competitiveness.