President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked universities to play a key role in achieving the big four growth agenda of his second term geared towards ensuring food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare.
The President said his Administration is focused on ensuring that all Kenyans enjoy a level of wellbeing that enables them to live a happy, healthy and productive life.
“In executing this agenda, I expect the universities to play a key role going forward,” said President Kenyatta, who is also the Chancellor of Kibabii University.
President Kenyatta was speaking Thursday when he presided over the second graduation ceremony of Kibabii University in Bungoma County where former Bumula MP Bifwoli Wakoli graduated with a Masters degree in Education.
For universities to truly become the vehicles for transformation, the President said, they must strengthen their relations and linkage with the industry to match the skills they teach with the requirements of industries.
He urged universities to promote skills required for new graduates to get employed as well as those of entrepreneurship, saying it will help them create jobs for themselves and others.
“Kenya has tremendous opportunities for young men and women who have these skills. Teach your students to make the most of them,” President Kenyatta said.
He added: “By producing a young work force of Kenyans with appropriate skills, we expect the universities to be an important ingredient in our pursuit for a better, prosperous and inclusive society in line with our Vision 2030 blue print.”
The Head of State commended universities the role they have continued to play promoting the country’s development.
President Kenyatta pledged his Administration’s continued support to universities and institutions of higher learning by providing the necessary resources and facilities to produce the human capital that the country requires.
“Our aim, as a Government, is to have these institutions to be truly centres of excellence in the service of our nation,” President Kenyatta said.
Noting that the need for creating a stronger research base for sustainable socio-economic development is not only clear but urgent, the President said his Administration has allocated 2 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to support research activities this financial year.
“I expect our universities to reciprocate by developing research relevant to policy and providing solutions that are implementable –research that provides solutions that will transform, on a lasting basis, the lives of all Kenyans,” the President said.
Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i assured that his Ministry will continue implementing reforms in the education sector to entrench quality and credibility.
Dr. Matiang’i urged politicians to avoid shortcuts and emulate former MP Wakoli by enlisting to pursue university education instead of going for fake academic papers.
Other speakers included the Kibabii University Council Chairman Dr. Ernest Mwangi Njoroge and the institution’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Isaac Ipara Odeo.