A four day training workshop focusing on laser technology and its application and attended by 22 participants drawn from various universities in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Senegal opened at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Monday April 6, 2009. The workshop funded by South Africa based African Laser Centre in collaboration with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Kimathi Institute of Science and Technology is vital because of the growing use and importance of laser technology in medicine, engineering and other applied and allied sciences.
With a leading resource scientist in laser science; Prof. Hubert von Bergmann assisted by Mr. Timo Stehman both from South Africa’s University of Stellenbosch, together with three Kenyan facilitators, led by Prof. Ndirangu Kioni, Principal Kimathi University College, the workshop is mainly intended to convey crucial knowledge to enable participants design and develop carbon dioxide based lasers.
Beneficiaries too are expected to deepen their understanding that could likely facilitate the integration of laser technology and research. Prof. Mabel Imbuga, the Vice Chancellor, lamented that Africa was lagging behind in many spheres of development and welcomed the workshop’s attempt to reverse the situation at least in laser technology where the a program to develop capacity had been initiated. Prof Imbuga in an official opening statement read for her by Deputy vice chancellor Prof Francis Njeruh singled out inadequate knowledge as the greatest limitation that hindered scientists in Africa from actively participating in global knowledge. “In Africa, development and strengthening structures of science and technology infrastructure encompassing a National Innovation System is required to ensure that the available scientific and technological resources and innovation potential are tapped to translate to socio-economic transformation of the society” she said.
To accelerate faster development of science and technology in Africa, the vice chancellor called on institutions of Africa to seek greater collaboration such as the one initiated by the Africa Laser centre that she said had managed to assemble institutions across Africa in order to promote and develop Laser science and technology in the continent.
Prof Imbuga pledged that JKUAT had been a member of the Africa Laser Centre for the last four years and would continue to support the center’s activities in the promotion of and use of laser technology that she said was gaining widespread application in key scientific areas such as manufacturing particularly in the support of the medical and electronic industries that she said required high precision components.
Prof. Imbuga added that as a technological university, JKUAT stood to immensely benefit from laser technology as most of the academic programs undertaken at the university were now incorporating the knowledge of laser technologies in their curriculum right from the undergraduate levels.