NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 – The government has announced plans to invest more than Sh350 million in a skills development programme for Public Communication and Information officers.
According to Ministry of Information, Communications & Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, the funds will be used to upskill and position Government communication officers to provide reliable services and solutions.
In a speech delivered on his behalf at the ongoing Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Annual Summit 2019 in Mombasa by Government Spokesperson Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, Mucheru said, the government understands how crucial communication is for national development.
“That is why budgetary allocation for mass media skills development, among other crucial efforts, was increased to more than Sh350 million in the last financial year. These are funds earmarked to ensure capacity building of our dedicated Public Communication and Information Officers to enable them to improve on performance and delivery,” Mucheru said, adding that, “Government communication officers must also strive to be on the forefront in shaping public opinion, especially in their respective ministries.”
The government, he added will also provide the necessary support to the Society’s bid to be anchored in law through the draft Institute of Public Relations and Communication Management Bill.
The proposed draft bill, is geared at facilitating the legislative formation of a professional body (Institute of Public Relations and Communication Management) to regulate and promote standards of competence and practice among PR practitioners.
In line with the PRSK Summit’s theme The Revolution and Disruption of Public Relations and Communication Management, Mucheru said that the Government has adopted an all-inclusive approach to delivery of projects that is heavily reliant on technological advancement.
This, he said, requires competent communication professionals who are well versed with change communications to help with awareness creation, attitude and behaviour change for the successful implementation of programs by stakeholders.
He challenged PRSK to introduce stringent measures even before the proposed Bill is adopted as an act of parliament, that will ensure professional practice to regain sanity in the industry. The transformation, from a Society to an institute, will give PRSK a charter recognised by law and solve the perennial problems of quacks and other entrepreneurs taking over the role of professional communication.
PRSK Vice President Dr Mbugua Njoroge while welcoming the government’s support said that the implementation of the Strategic Plan that was launched in 2018 has raised standards and acceptability of the profession in the broader professional industry in Kenya and the Bill will put the PR profession on the same cadre with their counterparts in the legal, human resource and accounting professions.
The summit is an annual event that brings together public relations professionals to share experiences and knowledge and, to reflect together on major issues affecting the profession.
Dr William Kingi Deputy Governor of Mombasa, Dr Naim Bilal KBC CEO, David Omwoyo CEO MCK and Prof Jim Macnamara are some of the invited speakers at the summit.