Implementation of the Pan African University (PAU) , a flagship project of the African Union has been heightened following admission of the third cohort of 91 graduate students at the JKUAT based PAU Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI). The students drawn from 28 African countries will pursue masters and doctorate degrees in engineering, mathematics, biotechnology and molecular biology.
Addressing the induction ceremony Thursday March 17, 2016, James Kiburi who represented the Ministry of Education Science and Technology said PAU was founded to produce highly qualified personnel who can help reposition the continent as a knowledge-based economy.
He added that Kenya was committed to the actualization of the PAU agenda as exemplified by over Ksh. 300 million investment that the Government of Kenya had so far committed to the development of infrastructure at the graduate training hub.
Kiburi said increased nationalities during the 2016 intake was a milestone in fostering integration among African states; a key objective behind the establishment of PAU.
Prof. M. Tsunoda who addressed the ceremony on behalf of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) challenged the students to forge long lasting partnerships and engineer useful innovations that can drive the continent forward. He said that through the Africa-ai– JAPAN, the Government of Japan which is lead thematic partner together with JKUAT project team were laying stable foundation for research and education for both JKUAT and PAUSTI.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga thanked the implementing partners for unwavering support towards the PAUSTI cause. She said the facility had emerged as a veritable centre of research and scholarly excellence as seen from performance of pioneer graduates.
“I urge you to use your diverse backgrounds to familiarize yourselves with the challenges afflicting our continent and generate home-grown solutions,” Prof. Imbuga said.
PAUSTI Director, Prof. Gabriel Magoma reported that of the 91 students, 41 are enrolled in PhD programmes, with the number of female students pegged at 21.
Prof. Magoma said besides the conventional curriculum in respective subject areas, the students will also be exposed to the history of Africa, human rights and gender, all of which he said are critical to the advancement of the continent.
Since inception in November 2012, PAUSTI has made several strides. It had its inaugural graduation presided over by African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in November 2014. This was followed by admission of the second cohort in February 2015.
PAU was established by a decision of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in 2010, with a view to developing institutions of excellence in science, technology, innovation, social sciences and governance, which would constitute the bedrock for an African pool of higher education and research. It strives to stimulate collaborative, internationally competitive and development-oriented research, in areas having a direct bearing on the technical, economic and social development of Africa.