, THIKA, Kenya, Nov 2 – President Mwai Kibaki has underscored the need for Kenyans to embrace reforms at all levels in order to create a modern country.
Noting that the task of nation-building that the country’s founding fathers began requires a cadre of dedicated, forthright and selfless leaders who place the interest of the nation above theirs, the President said nation-builders should be reformers and thinkers capable of reconciling the many contradictions a country faces.
“This is why it is critical for Kenyans to realise that nation-building denotes changing or reforming the country and its people in a responsible way,” President Kibaki said.
The Head of State was speaking on Sunday at Mangu High School where he addressed teachers and students.
President Kibaki emphasised that Kenyans should support reforms in the country through hard work so as to create modern educational facilities, basic infrastructure, industries, agriculture and trade.
The President added that the reforms being undertaken in the country are Kenyan initiatives, driven in the best way and in the best interests of all Kenyans.
Said President Kibaki: “I therefore call upon Kenyans to embrace the spirit of reform in our families, at our villages and institutions, and everywhere in the country. Let us modernise our education system, our economy and our politics.”
“As your President, it is my desire to take you on this path of change in order to create a modern country. When I was a student here at Mangu, at the height of colonialism, we dreamt and prayed for change, so that we could create a free, united and prosperous Kenyan nation,” the President added.
On education, President Kibaki said his Government continues to place great emphasis on education as a key pillar of Vision 2030 which is geared towards transforming Kenya into a modern industrialising nation, with citizens enjoying a high quality life.
The President pointed out that in Vision 2030, education is regarded as a key catalyst for the manifestation of social, economic and political pillars.
President Kibaki stressed the importance of secondary education, saying it is not only a transitional stage to higher education but is also essential for economic growth as it helps in acquisition of attitudes, skills and competencies required at the labour market.
“Secondary education also lays the foundation for further self development among the learners,” the Head of state said.
The President further observed that within the framework of Vision 2030, the main goal of the education sector is to provide a globally competitive quality education for individual intellectual and technical wellbeing, as well as for development of the country.
In this regard, President Kibaki said his Government has identified construction of 560 secondary schools spread all over the country and recruitment of more teachers as educational flagship projects to spearhead the realisation of Vision 2030.
Other educational projects include the introduction of the voucher system to enhance education in marginal areas, setting up centres of excellence in every constituency, integration of Information and Communication Technology in the education system and entrenchment of the free secondary school tuition program.
President Kibaki expressed satisfaction that since the introduction of Free Day Secondary school tuition, the Government has disbursed over Sh16 billion to all public secondary schools.
“Mangu High School has so far received over Sh14 million. In addition, the school has also received Sh3.17 million towards the construction of a computer laboratory, expansion of the staff room, and purchase of fire-fighting equipment,” President Kibaki pointed out.
Given the massive support from the Government and parents, the Head of State urged students across the country to work hard and realize their full potential as citizens of this country.
Saying Kenyans expect all students to engage in activities that advance their intellectual growth and not those that are detrimental to their education, the President advised students to stay clear of drugs and alcohol.
President Kibaki also cautioned students against negative peer influence that may compromise their search for better education as a basis for a better future for themselves and their country.
The President challenged students to embrace the concept of global citizenship, saying the youth who see themselves as citizens of the world will be best placed to succeed in the future.
President Kibaki further advised students not to allow anyone to narrow down their minds through shallow parochialism, tribalism and regionalism.
“The investment we are making in your education is meant to prepare you as the global citizens. And my advice to you is that you should embrace the chance and opportunities we are creating for you today,” President Kibaki said.
The President appealed to the Mangu school community, particularly parents, to have a positive attitude towards the growth and development of the school by supplementing the investments the Government is making in the education sector.