Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), Ezekiel Machogu, has challenged university graduates to utilize their acquired skills and intellectual prowess, to improve the living standards of the society.
CS noted that graduates have the potential to achieve what is necessary to meet current and future challenges and therefore they need to embrace their new beginning to and be ready to face any task they encounter.
In a speech read on his behalf by a senior Education Officer, Nereah Olik, during the first graduation ceremony of Alupe University in Teso South Sub- county, Wednesday, Machogu urged the graduates to be ready to improve the lives of their communities.
“Play your part and make a better future for your families, communities and this nation,” CS encouraged.
Machogu promised government support to the Institution so that many more students can access and receive higher learning opportunities within reach.
Busia Governor, Paul Otuoma, urged University graduates to be ready to offer the highly needed skilled manpower the County yearns to spur growth.
Otuoma said that the County was looking for skilled manpower to solve its health challenges.
“Sometimes we talk of employment, but we need to employ people with the right skills,’ he said.
He pointed out that the County has a great challenge with its healthcare sector, adding the system has really neglected its young population.
“In Busia currently, we have the highest number of malnourished and stunted children both physically and mentally,” he said, expressing confidence that the pioneer graduates will help solve the problem.
The Governor stated that his leadership will partner with the National Government in promoting healthcare within the County.
“Alupe was one of the major centers in research on leprosy, not just in Kenya, but in Central and East Africa,’ he said.
Otuoma further stated that Kenya is facing a serious challenge of food security, adding that Universities should help come-up with local solutions for the residents of Busia.
“Giving fertilizer alone will not solve our problems, we need to till our land , we need extension officers to show our people the best practices in Agriculture, so that Busia can no longer be a food deficit County, as we are currently,’’ he said.
He at the same time said that his Administration is in the process of collaborating with the National government on the programme of affordable housing, adding that the partnership will include Alupe because of its existing staff that can provide manpower.
“I’m also aware that some of the challenges our community is facing in terms of school fees and we are also looking forward to cooperating with institutions, parents and the community, to ensure that we have bursaries and scholarships, that are running seamlessly, so that no child is denied opportunity to a better education, ’ he said.
The Governor further said that his Administration, is looking forward to offering internships to students who have graduated from Alupe University.
“We will prioritize these students when offering internships, because we believe most of them will be able to help us solve our problems,” he said.
Otuoma at the same time disclosed that his Administration is in discussion with the National Government and the local elected leadership, on how to address the challenges of infrastructure within the Institution.
“I have already agreed with KURA and they are already working on the road from Public works in Busia town to Alupe,’ he said.
The Teso Cultural Leader, Papa Emor mor Sande Emolot, urged the local leaders to encourage their children to make good use of the Institution by applying for the courses being offered there.
“Alupe University borders Uganda and I want to appeal to all our clan leaders to encourage community members from both countries, to enroll more students in this facility,’ he said, adding that it will be easy for local students to study and go home hence cutting on costs.
Emolot urged the local residents to change from the mindset of looking for higher learning from far flung areas such as the University of Nairobi, yet they can be offered at their door steps.
Alupe University Vice Chancellor, Fabian Esamai, said that the Institution has a bright future but is in need of financial support.
The occasion saw a total of 76 students graduate with undergraduate degrees and postgraduate diplomas in social sciences, Education, health science, technology and engineering.
By Salome Alwanda