Higher Education Minister Happy with JKUAT Progress

Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister, Hon. Prof. Margaret Kamar has lauded JKUAT for offering competitive and relevant academic programmes, critical to the realization of Vision 2030.

The legislator who was speaking during the varsity’s 19th graduation ceremony equally underscored the strides made by JKUAT epitomized by its selection to host the Pan African University Institute of Basic Sciences Technology and Innovation (PAUISTI).

“The commencement of PAUISTI courses in September 2012 in JKUAT will be a major milestone in regional research, training and technology”, reiterated Prof. Kamar, adding that the initiative will bring a remarkable recognition in the field of science and technology in the country. The Minister praised the country’s public universities for heading the government’s call to implement the accelerated intake aimed at reducing the backlog of qualified ‘O’ level students who were unable to join university on time mainly due to lack of accommodation.

Speaking at the same function, the Chancellor, Prof. Francis Gichaga emphasized the progress that JKUAT had made in rolling out additional courses in response to the dynamic needs of the labour market. The chancellor commended the University administration for its forthright decision to initiate negotiations with a Japanese company that is likely to lead to the construction of a fast foods processing plant at JKUAT. The Shs. 500 million plant he said will boost the country’s food security situation as well as inspire JKUAT researchers on the importance of commercialization of research and innovation.

The Chancellor commended the graduands, urging them to “remain steadfast, innovative and to uphold ethical and professional standards, in line with their training”.

While giving his address, the Chairman of Council, Eng. Julius Riungu elaborated on the varsity’s scheme to expand its infrastructure in response to the ever expanding student base, compounded by the recently launched government accelerated intake initiative.

To address the menace of drug and alcohol in learning institutions, the Council Chair informed the graduation ceremony that, “The University is in the process of creating a fully fledged secretariat to address the problem of alcohol and substance abuse. The objectives of this policy include creating awareness on the harmful effects of alcohol, drug and substance abuse and promoting a culture that discourages alcohol and drug use in the University”, Eng. Riungu articulated.

On her part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga disclosed that the university had outperformed its projections as stipulated in the 2009-2012 strategic plan; key among them, increase in student enrolment.

“I am pleased to announce the annual growth over the three years has surpassed the targeted growth of 10% per year as envisaged in the plan”, said the Vice Chancellor.

She added that the university has now embarked on developing a new 2013-2017 in which strategic and value added research and innovation will be key. This, according to the Vice Chancellor, will “intensify the use of locally grown research and innovation outputs to accelerate Kenya’s industrial development.”

JKUAT’s 19th graduation ceremony of June 22, 2012 saw a total of 2, 652 freshly minted graduates; one with an honorary degree, released to the labour market. The ceremony marked the inception of a new graduation format in which the university will henceforth conduct two graduations in a calendar year.

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