he Turkana University College Chancellor Dr. Peter Muthoka has underscored the importance of the higher learning institutions to the development of the country.
Speaking during a tour of the Turkana university on Thursday, Dr Muthoka who also visited governor Josphat Nanok office in Lodwar said the university is committed to have a positive impact in the community, the nation, and the world, through its operations and practices.
“This can be achieved through its commitment to fulfilling its mandate. The University is now focusing on fulfilling her mandate through signing of key MoUs with several institutions,” he said.
“These collaborations will go a long way to enable Turkana University College to deliver on her mandate that will positively impact society,” added Muthoka.
He urged the University Management Board and the Academic Board to go the extra mile to source funds to facilitate the development of infrastructure and to accelerate the journey to building academic excellence through quality teaching and research of an international standard.
He lauded the government for funding the University to enhance research and training saying it has enabled the varsity to attract and retain staff. He urged the government as a major stakeholder to consider enhancing funding to TUC.
He at the same time observed that with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, University operations were disrupted. University activities had to change focus on new and innovative learning modes.
“At present, virtual learning is the new normal and I urge staff to embrace this new normal with zeal despite requiring a lot of resources to roll the programme. Indeed, the pandemic has made the University put in place protocols that have enabled it also to offer virtual teaching and learning which have brought the reality of online teaching and learning to near fruition,” he said terming it as a major milestone for the University.
He added that the University has created the directorate of ODEL among other interventions which will create networks of people and collaborations which will go beyond the borders as it enters into learning spaces that go beyond the boundaries of the University.
“Such interventions, Linkages, Outreach, and Partnerships will support the University to become a globally recognized University in teaching training and research,” he said.
On his part governor Nanok said the institutions of higher education play a critical role in sustainable development and said the County Government will continue to support development of TUC as a source of quality workforce and driver of technology and research to add value to key sectors of the county’s economy.
“We discussed cooperation to develop Turkana University College and its capacity for research and innovation,” said Nanok.
Meanwhile, Muthoka appealed to the Principal Secretary in charge of University Education and Research to assist the University to put up a fence to safeguard its land which has in the recent past been encroached on by private developers.
He also thanked the Council and Management for moving with speed to stop the encroachments in the University land.
He acknowledged the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education for appointing the current Turkana University College Council headed by Dr. Solomon Munyua.
“I have noted with satisfaction that through the concerted efforts by Council, our University College is steadily growing into a distinct centre revered for research and academic excellence. I, therefore, take this opportunity to acknowledge the oversight and leadership role of the University Council Chairman, Dr. Solomon Munyua and his team who, through prudent allocation and utilization of resources, are steering the University to achieve academic growth,” said Muthoka.
He further thanked Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology Senate led by the Ag. Vice-Chancellor- Prof Shibiro for the quality assurance they offer to Turkana University College also acknowledged the efforts made by the Ag. Principal, Prof. George Cheminingwa, the Management Board, the Academic Board, and the academic and administrative staff in ensuring that the vision and mission of the University are kept in focus.
He also encouraged the University to continue engaging partners like the county governments, businesses, and other institutions through which TUC will be able to nurture and exploit the benefits of collaborations to deliver on her mandate.
“Besides this, the University should develop global partnerships which will make it to be recognized all over the world and make our students and academic staff feel that they are part of an international community of scholars,” he said.
By Peter Gitonga and Sylvester Ekuwam