A two-day workshop aimed at streamlining and enhancing maritime education and training in Kenya has opened at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The event that has brought together experts from government, academia, industry and international organizations is one of the latest efforts by Kenya to foster its human capital towards sustainable exploitation of its blue economy endowments.
Speaking when she opened the workshop, Principal Secretary, State Department for Shipping and Maritime, Mrs. Nancy Karigithu said that quality maritime education and training would enable the country to produce requisite manpower while enhancing employability of the youth.
She added that the workshop was happening at a time of renewed impetus and focus on Kenya’s maritime sector, just months after the country hosted the first global conference on sustainable blue economy.
The Principal Secretary challenged participants to give due consideration to global nature of maritime education training and how the same has been applied in Kenya. Mrs. Karigithu also pushed for better understanding of equipment and ICT needs, capacity and experience of trainers, as well as the prevailing government policy governing maritime education training.
Executive Director, International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU), Dr. Takeshi Nakazawa said his association was committed to work with Kenya to improve quality and global visibility of the country’s capacity building initiatives for the maritime sector.
Dr. Takeshi noted that there is often a disconnect among the many players in the maritime sector. This, he added, had given rise to lopsided policy, curricula and standards guiding the maritime education and training as well as other operations in the sector.
As an advocacy body, Dr. Takeshi said, IAMU that brings together 67 universities, was working with governments, intergovernmental bodies, shipping agencies and training institutions to streamline and enhance quality products, processes and services in the sector.
JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said the University appreciated the immense potential of Kenya’s blue economy. JKUAT launched Bachelors degree in Marine Engineering in 2010, in order to produce qualified personnel to help Kenya exploit blue resources, she added.
“JKUAT has so far produced 77 BSc Marine Engineering graduates to provide the much needed expertise to Kenya’s maritime sector,” Prof. Ngumi added.
The Vice Chancellor also informed the workshop that JKUAT was host to the IMO led Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre for Africa region. The Centre has the mandate to champion regional capacity building; promote uptake of low-carbon technologies; raise awareness on harmful emissions; collect and report fuel consumption data relevant to the maritime shipping industry.
The workshop was jointly organized by the State Department for Shipping and Maritime and IAMU. Some of the participating institutions included Technical University of Mombasa, Bandari College, Kenya Maritime Authority, and Pioneer International University.