Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has asked universities to remain focused on their traditional core areas of strength to guarantee competitive academic programmes.
Citing the example of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the Cabinet Secretary extolled the importance of universities confining themselves to areas of their specialty.
“No one can deny the fact that JKUAT is a very strong university when it comes to science and technology. I wish to encourage the university to strengthen itself along these fronts rather than digressing to the humanities and arts,” he said.
Prof Magoha decried a trend he has observed amongst local universities where most had in recent years abandoned their strong fields of research and training, and instead “deviated to all manner of programmes.”
The Cabinet Secretary asked institutions of higher learning to “desist from the negative trend of duplicating programmes offered in other universities and instead, strengthen our traditional programmes.”
He spoke yesterday at JKUAT’s main campus in Juja where, together with the Japanese Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Ryochi Horie, he presided over the official inauguration of the university’s new Agriculture Laboratory Building.
It was constructed by the Japanese Government through the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA).
The Cabinet Secretary appreciated “the Japanese government through JICA for the good work whose impact he said is evident at JKUAT and across the country.”
While lauding JKUAT for being a “beacon of technology transfer and innovation in Kenya,” Prof Magoha said “institutions of higher learning, must step up collaborations with other world class universities, including those of Japan.”
He noted most of the top scientists at JKUAT are alumni of Japanese universities. Mr Horie expressed his gratitude to all the stakeholders involved in the “comprehensive completion and renovation of the building which has been carried out under the Africa-ai-Japan project.”
He noted that Japan has developed a very cordial relationship with JKUAT since its establishment as a university in 1981.
He reiterated that “Japan has not only cooperated with JKUAT for development of human resources but also for growth of the agricultural sector in the country. “
JKUAT vice chancellor, Prof Victoria Wambui Ngumi, praised JICA, saying, it has, through the Africa-ai-Japan project “continually demonstrated their long term commitment to support JKUAT to become the best university in Kenya and in the region.”