Education Principal Secretary, Dr. Belio Kipsang has challenged local universities to identify and implement research programmes that are responsive to the current socio-economic challenges facing Kenya. The PS wondered why, despite the explosion in the number of universities in the country, there remains a huge disparity in terms of tangible innovations and progressive research initiatives in the local scene.
To spur universities into action, Dr. Kipsang revealed, the government has nudged the institutions to make public projects they intend to roll out that can make a difference in the life of Kenyans.
‘We have formally asked our universities to exemplify their unique institutional strengths and actively participate in transforming Kenya through generation and dissemination of useful knowledge,’ emphasized Dr. Kipsang.
The PS also reported the government has embarked on a qualification framework which will standardize academic qualifications across all institutions, through the Technical and Vocational Training Authority; a body that will soon be in place.
On equal access to higher training by Kenyans, Dr. Kipsang maintained that those who merit education and cannot afford must be assisted to acquire university education. This, he asserted, was the reason why line institutions like the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service, were established.
Dr. Kipsang was speaking Thursday in Eldoret when he opened the 12th Exhibitions by Kenyan Universities, organized by the Commission for University Education (CUE). The Exhibitions which come to an end on Saturday 29, 2014 is a one stop shop for prospective student to learn about academic programmes on offer in Kenya universities.
CUE chairperson Prof. Henry Thairu noted that while Kenya’s population continues to grow, the same has not been reflected in the enrollment for university training, a situation that is partly to blame for the country’s socio-economic stagnation
‘The Gross Enrolment Ratio for Kenya currently stand at 6% compared to that of Malaysia, which pegged at 41% today,’ lamented Prof. Thairu.
In his address, the Commission’s CEO, Prof. David Some urged local universities to be competitive in the wake of integration of higher education in the East African region. Prof. Some also called on the Academia to be proactive in recommending sustainable solutions to pertinent issues bedeviling the country like terrorism and the wage bill.
Prof. Martin Obanda who received the officials at the JKUAT exhibition stand informed the PS and his entourage that the University has been proactive in developing innovative solutions in the areas of: engineering, agriculture, technology, and architecture among others.
Prof. Obanda also pointed out that JKUAT alumni continue to play role in driving the country’s development agenda, having acquired the requisite set of skills and competencies.
‘At JKUAT, we emphasize hands-on, industry oriented approach to training and needs based research frameworks,’ opined Prof. Obanda.