A group of legislators have commended Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology for its research and innovation foresight that would be instrumental in the promotion of Kenya’s industrialization agenda.
Quality and relevant research, the parliamentarians advised, were still defining attributes of a modern university and urged JKUAT to intensify their effort in the search for new knowledge particularly in its core areas of engineering, agriculture and other technology related fields.
Addressing University Council and Senate at JKUAT, Thursday November 28, 2013, Hon. Julius Melly, vice chairman, Departmental Committee on Education, Research, and Technology who led a team of 11 legislators, petitioned researchers in Kenyan universities to be proactive in the search for solutions to the myriad development challenges facing the country.
The legislators who toured several departments were impressed at the creativity of JKUAT faculty and students, and pledged to address the research budgetary constraints currently pegged at 0 .2 of GDP to 2 percent.
The M.Ps’ who visited a number of installations at the University concluded that JKUAT had the potential of driving most of the county’s flagship projects singling out the Primary School laptop project ‘due to JKUAT track record in teaching and research in computer science’ and technology.
Welcoming the law makers, Dr. Ekuru Aukot, Council Chairman, said like any other public University in Kenya, JKUAT had a number of challenges particularly in infrastructure development mainly in terms of inadequate funding, which he said has led to acute shortage of teaching space, laboratories and accommodation.
In her remarks, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, the Vice-chancellor told the politicians JKUAT popularity had grown tremendously in the last five years that has seen enrollment rising from seven thousand in 2008, to the current figure of 38, 000 students. Prof. Imbuga added within the same period, JKUAT through a competitive offer won a bid and was now hosting the Pan African University Institute of Basic Sciences Technology and Innovation, a graduate school aimed at promoting Africa’s integration through training and research. JKUAT, Prof. Imbuga added, is also hosting facilities designed to promote biodiversity research in East Africa while the establishment of the Nairobi Industrial Park will be instrumental in transforming the University’s research outputs into commercial entities.
Hon. Melly also opened a 700 meter road constructed at a cost of Kshs. 16.2 Million at JKUAT.