Education Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiangi, has revealed that the government will implement the differentiated unit cost model of funding universities beginning the next financial year. The new approach of higher education financing will greatly benefit technological universities like Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology that mainly offer science and technology based academic programmes.
The model will see students pay fees based on actual cost of running the courses they undertake compared to current system where government pays harmonized rates for state-sponsored students. Coming after government stopped further registration of new universities, Dr. Matiangi said the move is aimed at strengthening and transforming existing universities into globally competitive institutions.
Dr. Matiangi who was speaking Friday November 25, 2016 at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology during the institution’s 28th graduation ceremony also warned that universities which do not observe laid down quality requirements in their training will have their charters revoked.
He put on notice varsities which collude with academic fakes including politicians who are in a rush to acquire academic credentials in readiness for the upcoming elections.
The CS wondered why in the era of unprecedented uptake and consumption of ICT, some universities still don’t have working systems; registering unforgivable mistakes like missing marks.
Dr. Matiangi also took issue with ethnicity in Kenyan varsities. The institutions he lamented have been turned into ethnic enclaves and employment bureaus by locals.
While commending JKUAT for producing quality graduates in key areas such as engineering, health sciences, and agriculture, the Cabinet Secretary lamented that 80% of the country’s graduates were in social sciences. That, he said, had led to undesirable scenario of “people without jobs and jobs without people.”
Dr. Matiangi further urged Universities to adapt to current trends taking cognizance of national realities including the devolved system of governance.
JKUAT Chancellor Prof. Geoffrey Maloiy said the University’s commitment to excellence could be seen through a plethora of students’ innovations and useful research findings by the faculty.
He challenged the national and county governments to tap local knowledge and innovations in their development matrix instead of relying on imports from other nations.
In her address, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga said JKUAT had institutionalized collaborative research whose transformative output was bearing fruit.
She mentioned the establishment at JKUAT of the Sino Africa Joint Research Centre – the biggest research investment in Africa by the People’s Republic of China, that she said, would foster relations between China and Africa, through bio-diversity research and conservation of indigenous flora.
Prof. Imbuga also informed the ceremony that JKUAT had equally won a NACOSTI funded programme in which the University will develop and disseminate appropriate technologies and innovations to support the coconut value-chain in Kenya.
Council Chairman, Prof. Paul Kanyari informed the congregation that the University had put in place a number of mechanisms to ensure its programmes are manned by qualified personnel.
A total of 4,862 graduands including Juja MP, Hon. Munyua Waititu were conferred degrees and awarded diplomas
The ceremony, the second to be held this calendar year, featured 774 more graduands compared to the June 2016 graduation. Doctorate female candidates posted a strong showing with 35 crowned compared to the June edition where only 14 were honored.
The graduands’ numbers have been on the rise in the last six years. From 4,190 graduands in 2010, a total of 5, 403 passed out in 2013; with 2016 registering the highest ever recorded in a single calendar year at 8,923.
The upward trajectory in graduands’ numbers is a testimony to the growing demand for JKUAT’s academic and research programmes. The University emphasizes practical and industry oriented approach in mounting its programmes, making JKUAT graduates most preferred by local and international employers.