The attainment of the government’s new five year education plan (2018-2022) will largely be dependent on the role played by the Universities as a key driver in the sector.
Prof. Collette Suda, the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) and Principal Secretary (PS), State Department for University Education and Research stated that the Ministry of Education is committed to providing the appropriate support and enabling environment to enhance the potential of Universities to grow into credible institutions that produce high caliber skilled labour into the job market.
The PS advised Universities to streamline their academic programmes and make use of the available resources to mitigate existing funding gaps.
“Through Kenya’s development efforts articulated in the Big Four priority areas, it is important to underscore the relevance of University Education as a key driver in the new five year education plan (2018-2022). The quality of teaching, learning and research are great determinants to the quality of products released to the job market,” said Prof. Suda.
She advised Universities on the need to closely monitor the type of content taught, methodologies employed, and assessments given in order to ensure that they achieve the expected outcomes of university education.
“There should be a paradigm shift in the approach of training in the wake of this digital error,” she said
She noted that the government has continuously emphasised on research, innovation and technology as the key drivers of development in the world today.
“Given the scarce resources allocated to the Universities for expansion purposes, it will be important for universities to engage with private entities to attract investments for supplementing the government’s efforts in the development of infrastructure. We also urge universities to ensure prudent use of resources,” said Prof. Suda.
The CAS who was speaking on Monday at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology urged Universities to maximise the funding opportunities from institutions such as the National Research Fund as alternative source of funding.
On technology transfer, the P.S. urged universities to provide motivation necessary for such transformations.
“Technology transfer is paramount for the growth and development of communities and the country as a whole,”Suda said
Prof. Suda stated that the world today was becoming a very competitive global village coupled with adoption of top notch technologies.
She said in order to gain leadership in the job market, the government has therefore put the necessary premium in University Education because of the pivotal role it plays in the creation, adaptation and use of knowledge that are crucial in transforming Kenya into a knowledge-based economy.
“There is a growing demand from the labour market for an increased level of skills and competencies required for a modern, globally-competitive and knowledge –based economy, and the need for continual professional upgrading. Universities need to produce graduands who are grounded enough to be fully functional in an ever-changing work environment,” she said
Prof. Suda said universities have a task to observe quality though review of curriculum that meets industry needs on the basis of regular stakeholder consultation and to implement practical components in addressing the knowledge and skills gaps in the job market.
“The programmes developed by universities should be relevant and add value to our National Development Agenda. Universities should endeavor to conduct cutting edge research and innovations that will put the country on the world map,” advised Prof. Suda.
By Brian Ondeng