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Varsities urged to harness science and technology to improve livelihoods

The Ministry of Education is calling on universities to engage in collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects that harness science and technology to improve people’s livelihoods.

Presiding over the 8th graduation ceremony of South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU), Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha, in a speech read on his behalf by Chief Administrative Secretary, Mumina Bonaya, noted that there are several active research collaborations and linkages with local and international organisations.

“These should translate into tangible benefit to society, starting with our immediate community. As a University located in a rural setting, I urge you to focus particularly on research undertakings that enhance livelihoods in the local communities,” said Prof Magoha.

The CS urged the institution to continue to strengthen links with the corporate industry, who are the consumers of their products adding that these close working relations will help the University know the value of its graduands.

“Use the industry linkages to get the vital feedback on how your graduates are performing as you also engage their employers on their needs. Moreover, as the country gives due attention to technical skills development, this University, with its unique technical training background, stands a good chance to excel,” said the don.

He noted that the Government, through the African Development Bank, has invested significantly in technical equipment, which the University should put into use for this purpose.

In a bid to ensure that the country gets proper return on investment particularly in the higher education sub-sector, he called on SEKU to align their academic programmes and research priorities to the national socio-economic aspirations as espoused in the Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda.

“I laud universities and other institutions of higher learning for taking innovative measures to adjust to the situation brought about by the pandemic. These measures included integrating virtual and blended learning,” said the CS.

Prof Magoha pointed out that despite its disruptive nature and the loss of lives, Covid-19 has helped us to think and come up with methods of making education accessible and affordable to more people.

Commenting on proper utilisation of funds from the national Exchequer and other sources, the CS said that SEKU’s prudent application of resources has seen the University complete key infrastructural projects.

The University’s Council Chairperson, Dr Swabah Omar, said that SEKU has continued to receive enormous support from the Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Education by releasing exchequer funds to facilitate implementation of capital development projects and operations of University functions.

“The University Council has administered the received funds for the purposes which promote the interest of the University in accordance with procedures laid down by the government,” said Omar.

She said that SEKU has operated optimally in delivering its services to the students in finalizing its capital development projects as planned. “The Kitui Town Campus project and the Wote Town Campus project were completed in record time and with no variations,” said the Council Chairperson.

Further, Omar disclosed that the University has planned to improve students’ welfare and security by undertaking several projects using internally generated funds. “The projects are aligned with the aspirations of the Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda,” said Omar.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Geoffrey Muluvi, thanked the students and staff for not planning or staging any strike since the institution’s inception despite its challenges and called for sobriety in resolving disputes.

A total of 1, 342 students were awarded various SEKU degrees during the virtual ceremony out of these were one PhD, 12 Masters and 1, 328 bachelors’ graduands.

By Yobesh Onwong’a

 

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