Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi has commended JKUAT for its leadership in the fields of engineering and Information Communication Technology that he averred has made the University visible beyond the borders of Kenya. He singled out JKUAT’s initiative to locally assemble laptops; a venture that he reckoned would foster integration of ICT in the country’s production systems including the education sector.
The CS also noted that by hosting the Pan African University Institute of Basic Sciences Technology and Innovation (PAUISTI), JKUAT had become a pillar in continental training and research.
The University, Prof. Kaimenyi added, has been identified as a possible ICT centre of excellence for the region; an idea that was mooted in a recent meeting of regional ministers of education in Kampala, Uganda.
‘We are in the process of identifying and bridging skills gaps that exist in the region. In terms of ICT, JKUAT stands out,’ Kaimenyi said.
Kaimenyi made the remarks Saturday, when he toured JKUAT stand during the 12th Kenyan Universities Exhibition in Eldoret.
Speaking separately during the official closing ceremony of the exhibition organized by the Commission for University Education (CUE), the Cabinet Secretary cautioned universities against unplanned expansion, a practice that he indicated could compromise quality. Universities, he advised, should work towards becoming centres of excellence.
‘Postgraduate enrolment in Kenya is a paltry 2.6% against the global benchmark of 25%, and behind that of South Africa which stands at 17%,’ lamented Kaimenyi. ‘We must wake up, strengthen our postgraduate training and make public research findings to eliminate duplication.
Universities, Kaimenyi added, must also actively organize and participate in public debates in order to shape national policy frameworks.
CUE CEO Prof. David Some said that the commission has embarked on quality audits for all programmes offered by local universities and those found wanting will be dis-accredited.
‘All universities must put in place quality senate to ensure quality teaching, and quality supervision,’ Some directed.
The CUE chief added that Kenya’s constitution now provides up to Ksh.70 Billion for research contrary to the past where only Ksh.10 Billion was committed to the country’s research endeavours.
‘You must therefore stand up to be counted in terms producing new knowledge that can respond to the myriad challenges facing this country,’ Prof. Some said.
The three-day exhibition was attended by 64 out of 67 universities with the aim of reflecting on the milestones registered in Kenya’s higher education sector while affording prospective students opportunity to sample academic programmes on offer in the institutions.