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Institutions of higher learning should bank on interventions to address emerging challenges

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Institutions of higher learning should adopt sustainable interventions to build their resilience, Prime CS Musalia Mudavadi has said.

The PCS challenged the institutions to also work closely with the Government and create linkages with international community to forge a legacy of innovation and resilience.

“Let us forge a legacy of innovation and unwavering dedication to the national interest. Let us ensure that higher institutions of learning do not only shine as beacons of knowledge and excellence but, also stand out as testaments to our collective resolve to uplift our nation in all spheres of life,” said Mudavadi.

He said Kenya’s prosperity hinges on a collective effort where the pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence is intertwined with the commitment to national service.

Students, he stared, should thrive to use their skills and knowledge to address the challenges in the society, innovate solutions targeted to improving livelihoods of the citizens and lead initiatives that drive sustainable development.

Mudavadi said the strive for academic excellence will impact on a greater contribution to a shared prosperity for all Kenyans through initiatives that will be undertaken by those institutions.

He challenged universities in particular through their respective leadership to take cognizant of the ever-evolving global dynamics and be pragmatic towards finding solutions to the current challenges in the various aspects of daily undertakings.

“Our expectations are particularly high about the future role of Kenyan universities in developing expanded research partnerships with other leading international institutions. Such strategic collaboration will enhance research capabilities, access cutting-edge resources and foster collaboration on groundbreaking research projects that address national, regional and global challenges,” he remarked.

The Prime Cabinet Secretary was speaking at the University of Nairobi, during the unveiling of the “Big 5” Transformational Initiatives aimed at propelling the university to a fit-for-purpose sustainable and resilient future, hosted by Chancellor Professor Patrick Verkooijen, Tuesday evening.

“I am pleased to note that the Chancellor’s transformative agenda includes strategic initiatives to shore up innovation, equip young people to lead the green transition and harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI). It will also help to bridge the gap between academia and industry, to accelerate the growth of emerging sectors in line with the Government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA),” he said.

Mudavadi applauded the University of Nairobi’s leadership saying it has taken a bold vision for the future and a commitment to excellence that will define the University’s trajectory for years to come.

He said these initiatives come against the backdrop of momentous time in Kenya’s history, which has earned its place in the global arena for being an attractive regional hub for Foreign Direct Investments.

He cites key drivers of FDI as emerging opportunities in various sectors including financial services, technology and education.

Mudavadi also the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs added that foreign relations and diplomacy play a significant role than ever in emerging regional and global issues, including trade and investment, security and climate change mitigation.

“I have just returned from the United States where I accompanied President William Ruto to a historic State Visit hosted by His Excellency President Joe Biden. The President engaged constructively with his host, government officials and the US private sector. He was able to strike deals worth $36.15 million (equivalent to over Ksh 4.7 billion) for basic and higher education sector programs,” he said.

“I am delighted to note that the University of Nairobi is one of our institutions of higher learning that will benefit from this investment. This will certainly buttress the Chancellor’s agenda and spring this institution to the pinnacle of innovation and entrepreneurship. Further, it will incubate groundbreaking ideas that will transform industries, drive economic growth and contribute to social transformation,” he added.

Mudavadi said Universities should lead the charge in equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of international relations.

This he pointed out to be achievable through fostering a deep understanding of global issues and encouraging active participation in international dialogue, where the young generation can be prepared to be effective ambassadors of Kenya.

“At the heart of our continent’s development is leadership.  I am also confident that we can look upon our institutions of higher learning as key contributors to the next generation of African leaders. Our students need to be equipped with the skills, knowledge and mindset needed to lead with integrity, vision and impact. With the “Big 5” Initiatives, for instance, the University of Nairobi will be well placed to nurture ethical leadership and empower individuals to drive positive change in their communities and beyond,” he said.

He said moving forward university leadership and faculty should bear the profound responsibility of nurturing the next generation of visionaries and trailblazers.

“It is not enough to impart academic knowledge; you must also cultivate leadership skills that will empower our students to lead with integrity and a sense of purpose. All our academic institutions must be breeding grounds for individuals who are not only academically proficient but also equipped to navigate the complexities of our rapidly evolving world,” he said.

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