The Government is in the process of establishing the National Open University of Kenya in a bid to make university education more affordable, accessible, and attainable to all students.
Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu has said the move is among the far-reaching reforms the Ministry is putting in place to address the costing effect of university education in the country.
“One of the flagship initiatives that the Kenya Kwanza administration is currently undertaking to enhance access to affordable university education is the establishment of the National Open University of Kenya. Once established, the National Open University will make university education more affordable, accessible, and attainable to all students, no matter their location or income level,” he said.
The CS made the remarks on Thursday while presiding over the 10th Graduation Ceremony of Pwani University, where a total of 1203 graduands were conferred various degrees.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that we have an accessible, affordable and functional education system that is globally competitive and responsive to the demands of national and international development,” added Machogu.
He said the availability of skilled and knowledgeable manpower is vital in solving divergent needs and challenges of modern society, including globalization, technological advancement, climate change, poverty, cyber security and the burden of diseases.
“The role of universities in training, research and innovation cannot be overstated. This is a critical sub-sector that is of direct relevance to our national and regional development agenda,” the CS noted.
Machogu called on the universities to explore ways of addressing the financial challenges facing them.
“Our universities should utilize their internal capacities to overcome the challenges they face. The current difficulties call for innovative solutions. Our universities should, for example, develop and strengthen unique niches that contribute to both the national and global development agenda in order to attract local and international students for training and research,” he observed.
He at the same time called on the institutions to boost their online presence and invest in world-class facilities with marketable and relevant programmes that can attract students from all corners of the world.
The CS congratulated the graduates and challenged them to be ready for a labor market that requires critical thinkers with innovative ways in providing practical solutions to the problems facing the society.
Accompanying the Cabinet Secretary was Basic Education Principal Secretary, Dr. Belio Kipsang among other National and County Government officials.
By Michael Omondi