5171 Graduate as JKUAT, PAUSTI Hold Joint Graduation Fete

Chancellor, Prof. Ndung’u addressing the congegation.

5171 candidates have graduated with degrees, diplomas and certificates of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Pan Africa University of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI), during a joint graduation ceremony at the institution’s main campus in Juja, Friday, November 26, 2021.

During the convocation presided over by the University’s Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u, 4443 undergraduates, 104 postgraduate diplomas, 539Masters and 85 PhD degrees were awarded.

The graduation ceremony whose theme was: Upscaling Digital Transformation in Training, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Development, is the third to be conducted virtually by JKUAT and the second for PAUSTI since the advent of Covid-19, also marked the 37th and 7th graduation ceremony for the two institutions, respectively.

Speaking at the colourful ceremony that was streamed live on KTN Home and social media platforms, Prof. Ndung’u congratulated the graduands, lauding the University for its effort “to strengthen partnerships and collaborations with industry and other stakeholders.”

Amb. Nabukwesi signs the visitors’ book upon arrival at JKUAT for the graduation ceremony. Chancellor, Prof. Ndungu (left) and Council Chair, Amb. Maalim look on.

The Chancellor revealed that JKUAT has “signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization to establish the National Assistive Technology Centre of Excellence. “

The Centre, he added, “will cater for persons with disabilities, non-communicable diseases, mental health conditions, gradual function decline among other medical conditions.”

Prof. Ndung’u also said the university had received drones from JICA and Rochester Institute of Technology as part of the institution’s determination to enhance research capacity in the areas of geospatial information systems and remote sensing for aerial monitoring of the environment.

 The Cabinet Secretary, Prof. George Magoha, said, for nearly two years, COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of disruption in the education sector.   This, he added, “has necessitated measures to ensure continued learning.

He appreciated that “JKUAT had expanded its ICT infrastructure which resulted in being ranked top in the usage of the KENET Remote Teaching Platform among Kenyan universities.”

Prof. Ogude, makes her remarks.

The Cabinet Secretary in a speech read on his behalf by the Principal Secretary for State Department for University Education and Research, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, further observed, “The University has continued providing solutions in the fight against the pandemic by leveraging on research and innovation and the Ministry of Education has noted with pleasure, the JKUAT Hospital was rated highly by the Ministry of Health as a COVID-19 vaccination centre.”

Regarding the higher education sector, Prof. Magoha said, “universities are experiencing financial challenges especially with increased admissions occasioned by the 100% transition to institutions of higher learning.”

Despite the prevailing circumstances, the Cabinet Secretary said there was need to acknowledge resource constrains on the side of government and challenged universities “to expand internal income generating initiatives for sustaining routine operations.”

Prof. Ngumi delivers her remarks

Even with financial constraints, the CS was categorical, “our priority should be to ensure academic standards are not compromised.”

The JKUAT Chairman of the University Council, Amb. (Eng) Mahboub Maalim said, the university “has embraced the blended approach in delivery of academic programmes and examinations to ensure business continuity.

“To support online operations that have become an integral part of our work culture, the University continues to upgrade network infrastructure,” he added.

Amb. Maalim made a passionate appeal to the government to enhance funding to the University to enable it complete ongoing projects that are aimed at enhancing training, research and innovation activities, while the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, said, JKUAT remains a popular choice for students seeking higher education, attributing it to the quality of academic programmes and research-oriented approach entrenched at the institution.

A section of PhD graduates adjust their caps after conferment of the degree.

During the 2021/2022 academic year, Prof. Ngumi said, “JKUAT was ranked among the most preferred institutions by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service, with more than 6,000 students having selected JKUAT programmes.”

Prof. Ngumi used the occasion to announce “JKUAT has launched four new programmes; BSc. Data Science and Analytics, BSc. Medical Social Work, BSc. Aquaculture and BSc. Information Science.”

These programmes, she explained, “are tailored to address emerging industry needs and produce professionals who will contribute to the country’s development agenda.”

PAUSTI and JKUAT officials who graced the joint graduation ceremony

In her message to the graduands who included 29 masters and 36 PhDs for PAUSTI, the Vice President of Pan African University Council, Prof. Nthabiseng Audrey Ogude said “PAUSTI has made tremendous progress in its efforts to produce quality human resources, uniquely adapted to provide sustainable solutions to the problems facing our continent.”

She hailed the decision of the African Heads of State to prioritize higher education, which she noted, “was informed by the enduring wisdom that any meaningful development programme must be anchored on a sound scientific base.”

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