One of the far flung and fastest growing JKUAT campuses located at the Coastal town of Voi, has been elevated to a university college under the watch of JKUAT. It becomes the first ever JKUAT own campus to enjoy full support from the Government’s managed status. The JKUAT Taita Taveta Campus was established in 2008, following Government’s decision to hand over a decade old abandoned structures initially constructed as Taita Taveta Teacher Training College under World Bank funded programme that stalled in 1997, with an estimated 95 percent of the project completed.
Speakers at the ceremony officiated by the Chancellor, Prof. Francis John Gichaga, and attended by top University Management and a cross section of local leaders, unanimously commended JKUAT for its bold and strategic foresight that had led to the rehabilitation of the facilities paving way for a teaching university campus that they acknowledged, had stimulated development opportunities in Taita Taveta County. The campus has been instrumental in opening new opportunities for school leavers to enroll for university courses on offer at certificate, diploma and degree levels while at community level, the campus has been a beehive of technology transfer training programmes designed to empower the local community.
Prof. Gichaga, in a speech to officially initiate the institution’s inaugural Council, was of the view that the actual task for the new JKUAT Taita Taveta University College was clear cut in terms of knowledge creation and dissemination for Kenya’s national development. The Coastal region, Prof. Gichaga argued, was bedeviled with numerous challenges that hindered the area from achieving its development goals saying, it was the duty of the university college to embark on the road to provide solutions to unlock the region’s development potential.
The Chancellor advised the new Council and the entire university college fraternity to emulate JKUAT that he said, was now renown globally for its result oriented approach mainly in the noble enterprise of research and innovation. ‘ I wish to challenge the Taita Taveta University College Council to live up to these aspirations’
Prof. Gichaga who read sections of JKUAT Act and Legal Notice that established the university college made a plea to the new administration urging them it was their responsibility to ‘boldly delve into the uncharted waters and innovate new ways of tackling traditional and emerging issues for national good’. In an attempt to achieve their goals, the Chancellor however insisted on the need for the governing body to stick to public policy and institutional rules.
Director for Higher Education, Dr. Salome Gichura stressed that the elevation of the institution to a university college was part of the Ministry’s policy to address the country’s constitutional obligation to meet citizens right to access quality education at all levels. Dr. Gichura reminded the new team of the enormous challenges ahead that she said required the officials to lay a firm foundation to guide the college. In going about their duties, she encouraged the Council to consult widely and be guided by relevant government policy documents that will be instrumental in guiding them to discharge their duties. Dr Gichura pledged her Ministry’s support saying, ‘ as founders, all you need is courage, determination, and commitment’.
Engineer Riungu , JKUAT Council Chairman who handed the instruments of governance to his new counterpart at Taita Taveta University College, Dr. Florence Nyamu advised the new team to institute measures that would ensure prudent planning and utilization of resources. ‘ I urge the incoming Council to embrace a consultative culture epitomized by inclusion at all levels of decision making’ .
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga said, JKUAT was pleased to have initiated the campus adding that the university college had registered monumental progress since its integration ‘into JKUAT family’. She however assured the new Council that JKUAT link with the new university college will remain active citing the role of JKUAT Senate that she emphasized, would ensure the college continued to offer quality academic programmes.
Earlier, the Principal, Prof. Hamadi Boga, treated the audience to a video show that captured the history and development of the college. The ceremony was also addressed by area leaders including Dr. Naomi Shaban, Minister for Gender Children and Social Development; Wundanyi M.P Hon. Thomas Mwadeghu and former Minister and area M.P Hon. Major Marsden Madoka among others.