By Amos Wachira
Globally, Kenya is renowned as East Africa’s hub of innovation. It has produced world beating innovations that have blazed the trail at the global level.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of world economies. Kenya should therefore quickly learn, nurture and entrench the culture of entrepreneurship to transform the lives of its citizens. It is also widely acknowledged that university graduates are at the forefront of creating innovations.
That was Mount Kenya University’s founder and chairman, Prof. Simon Gicharu’s message during the higher institution’s twelfth graduation ceremony. The internationally acclaimed entrepreneur challenged those who graduated to turn their ideas into commercial enterprises.
“I am sure a good number of these graduands are full of amazing ideas. We need, therefore, to tap all those ideas, actualise them and ensure that they benefit the society. An idea can only be good and sustainable if it is of service to the society,” he said.
Under the theme : “The Role of Ethics and Values in Sustainable Socio-economic Development,” former Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Olive Mugenda who was the guest speaker challenged university staff to be role models by setting high ethical and value standards. She also lauded the institution for creating a niche in science and technology.
“Prof. Gicharu’s choice of science and technology as niche training areas sets MKU aside from many local universities. By offering courses in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health, nutrition and dietetics , law, education, social sciences, business and economics, hospitality and tourism, among other discilplines, MKU produces manpower in critical areas.”
In his speech, Prof.Gicharu noted with appreciation the effort by the government to enable more Kenyans access university education. In 2016, the government took a bold step by allowing government sponsored students to join private universities. The implementation of this programme saw a group of 1,126 students join Mount Kenya University in September last year.They are part of the 10,000 students that the government placed in private universities in the country for the first time since independence.
Speaking during the event, Deputy President William Ruto said that the government will increase the allocation to Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) from the current Kshs.7.5 billion to Kshs.15 billion annually. He added that the government has also set aside Kshs. 500 million to pay fees for students in middle level colleges. A further Kshs.15 billion will go towards supporting internship programme for students.
“The government has already had a discussion with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers over the internship programme,” he said. The Deputy President also opened the ultra modern Alumni Plaza at the University’s main campus, which was built at a cost of Kshs. 1 billion.
Words from a graduate
Edwin Ochola, bachelors degree in security studies and Criminology, Virtual Varsity, occupation: police officer.
Through the virtual learning model, I have been able to advance my studies, and today’s graduation is the culmination of hard work and dedication. I liked the virtual learning model because it is flexible and convenient. With this mode of learning, you do not need to visit physical classes on a daily basis. You get all the course materials online.
As a police officer, I have to advance my studies in order to handle modern crime effectively and efficiently. Technological advancements mean that cyber crime will continue being a challenge across the globe. Law enforcers must therefore go back to school to keep abreast with such developments. It is the only way to fight complex crimes such as cybercrime.
I am very proud of Mount Kenya University for enabling me to realize my dream.