President puts on hold further establishment of new universities
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday, October 7 ordered a freeze in the establishment of new universities in a bid to give focus to strengthening existing institutions as well as providing more technical and vocational training.
The Head of State said the freeze would give the Government the opportunity to give emphasis to improving the quality of existing universities as opposed to their quantity.
“Our focus now must be strengthening the institutions that we have; building their resilience and ensuring sustained quality,” said President Kenyatta.
“These institutions have to be globally competitive in their operations and service delivery. Quantity at the expense of quality has a potential to harm our country.”
This directive came after the President awarded charters to eight new universities at a ceremony held at State House, Nairobi.
President Kenyatta called on the new universities to create links with the private sector in order for them to succeed in making students globally competitive.
He said this will allow the private sector to tap into the knowledge and innovation available at institutions of higher learning.
President Kenya also challenged the new universities to step up to the challenge of meeting the expectations Kenyans have of institutions of higher learning.
“Our standards of research, of teaching, and of management must be exceptional. If you let your standards fall, then you have failed your students and your country,” said the President
He also cautioned those in charge of the new universities to guard against tribalism and to uphold national values.
A ninth university, Garissa University, was initially planned to be among the institutions getting their charter today, but President Kenyatta said he would personally travel to Garissa to deliver the certification.
In his message, Kenyatta said that his decision on Garissa University was to send a loud message that Kenya will never succumb to the threats of terrorism.
The eight new universities that were awarded charters were KAG East University in Kajiado County, Rongo University in Migori County, the Cooperative University of Kenya in Nairobi County and Taita Taveta University in Taita-Taveta County.
The others were Murang’a University of Technology in Murang’a County, University of Embu in Embu County, Machakos University in Machakos County and Kirinyaga University in Kirinyaga County.
The President also witnessed the installation of Chancellors of the new universities as part of the elaborate ceremony of award of charters.
The chancellors are Mr Fred Ojiambo (Kirinyaga University), Hon Joseph Nyaga (Cooperative University), Prof Mohamed Y. Elmi (Rongo University), Hon Dr Sally Kosgei (Taita-Taveta University), Mr James Mworia (Machakos University), Prof Musili Wambua (Embu University), Dr Philista Onyango and Rev Dr Peter Njiiri (KAG East University).
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