Mount Kenya University (MKU) successfully held its 24th graduation ceremony. The event that took place at Happy Valley Grounds in Thika saw five thousand, seven hundred and sixty three graduands conferred degrees and awarded diplomas and certificates.
Of the total, three thousand, four hundred and twenty nine were male , while two thousand, three hundred and thirty four were female. Among them were nineteen PhDs, masters – five hundred and thirty one , while one hundred and thirteen were postgraduate diplomas. Bachelor’s degrees formed the majority at three thousand, six hundred and seventy, diplomas were one thousand, one hundred and seventy seven ,and finally, two hundred and sixty three were awarded certificates.
Dr. Juma Mukhwana, Principal Secretary, department for industry, ministry of investments, trade and industry graced the event as the chief guest. In his opening remarks, Dr. Mukhwana commended the university for choosing a progressive theme titled: ‘The Role of Higher Education in Driving Small-Scale Industry for Socio-Economic Equity through Linkages.’
Role of SMEs
The PS pointed the crucial role that is played by SMEs in developing our economy. “Small-scale industries play a critical role in our economic development creating employment for 14.1 million persons representing at least 93 percent of our national workforce,” said Dr. Mukhwana adding that the sector contributes 24 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He lauded MKU for doing a noble service in equipping students to fit in various economic opportunties. “I want to appreciate MKU for taking the bold step in moulding these graduands so that they can fit into our economy,” he said. “MKU’s support to students and researchers has led to the development of research-oriented projects that have continued to transform lives.”
However he observed that there are still obstacles in the linkage between learning institution and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “There are various challenges bedeviling the linkage between learning institutions and SMEs such as minimal absorption of new technologies by SMEs, inappropriate skills, commercialization of innovative technologies and a low appreciation of science and its contribution to national development.”
He further said that the government will continue to promote linkages between SMEs, academia and private sector with a view of adopting new technologies and creating policies that will encourage innovation. On his part, Prof. John Struthers chancellor of MKU hailed the partnership between MKU and the University of West of Scotland (UWS) as beneficial to both institutions.
“Following the successful hosting of the International Conference of the Center for African Research on Enterprise and Economic Development (CAREED) for the last seven years at the UWS, and following discussions held between the two universities, an agreement has been reached to host the eighth International Conference of CAREED at MKU Thika in July 2024,” the Chancellor revealed.
“As scholars, we strive to serve the community to the best of our capacities through our core mandates of teaching, research and community engagement,” he emphasized wishing graduands success in their endeavours.
Plan for a lifetime
Speaking at the event Dr. Vincent Gaitho, Chairman, MKU University Council extolled graduands to heed the wise words of a chimes proverb: If you are planning for a year, plant rice; if you are planning for a decade, grow trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.
Dr. Gaitho also affirmed the University Council’s continued support to enhance stakeholder satisfaction through awesome customer experience. “The council is committed to ensuring compliance to national and international training standards that are guided by policies and regulations,” he said.
“The council has ensured that the education offered is affordable and accessible through diverse modes of study. The university’s digital footprint is growing globally with students enrolling from more than forty nationalities.”
Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi, MKU’s Vice-Chancellor congratulated all the stakeholders for facilitating education of the graduands. He further noted that MKU continues to grow giving more students access to higher education. “In the current semester/trimester of September-December 2023, the university registered a total of fifty eight thousand, five hundred and eighty eight students. This is the highest student enrolment that the university has ever had, a clear testimony that MKU has over the years established its niche and maintained quality education,” he said.
To cope with the emerging trends he said: “In order to align the university curricula to the emerging trends and address the market demands, the university Senate has supported three new curricula namely : master of pharmacy in cosmetic technology, master of pharmacy in industrial pharmacy, and master of science in industrial pharmacognosy and traditional medicine.”
Additionally, he said the university endeavours to support and strengthen postgraduate training. Consequently, a new roadmap for postgraduate training has been implemented that will guarantee timely completion of postgraduate studies. He committed that MKU will continue to facilitate research, innovation and community engagement.
Graduands were urged not to forget the lessons learned, the friendships made and the memories cherished during their stay at the university. “Strive to be compassionate leaders, ethical professionals, and agents of positive change in whatever you choose to pursue,” said Dr. Mukhwana.
“Success is not solely defined by wealth or accolades but by the lives you touch, the difference you make and the values you uphold. Your journey does not end here; it merely takes a new direction filled with opportunities waiting to be seized,” he added.