NYERI, Kenya, Dec 14 – Dedan Kimathi University of Technology has become the first among 15 constituent colleges to be upgraded to full public university status.
Granting the charter at the university’s grounds, President Kibaki noted that the new Universities Act 2012, which he assented to, provided for a robust environment and equal playing field for the accreditation and quality assurance of university education in the country.
“The new Universities Act 2012, which has just been passed by our Parliament and appropriately received my assent, marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of higher and tertiary education in our country,” President Kibaki said.
The new law, the Head of State said, has empowered the government to embark on the process of establishing 15 new fully-fledged public universities in the country.
President Kibaki pointed out that the law has also strengthened and mandated the Commission for University Education to ensure that access, equity, relevance and high quality of higher education is made available to all qualified Kenyans.
The president emphasised that provision of relevant education will ensure that the country’s higher education system produces high quality human capital that will form the backbone of the achievement of Vision 2030 and many ideals of the new constitution.
The president challenged universities and other research institutions to find ways of translating research findings into innovations that would develop useful goods and services for uplifting the livelihoods of Kenyans.
Said the president: “That way, our people will appreciate that science and research are useful tools for development and will, in turn, accord them greater support.”
Commending the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology for adopting the name of one of the country’s gallant heroes, President Kibaki urged the university to live up to its name by being an institution of higher learning dedicated to developing patriotic, selfless and transformative leaders whose primary aim will be to promote peace, national unity and integration.
The Head of State at the same time asked Kenyans to use the forthcoming general election to loudly demonstrate to the world that Kenya has matured in the understanding of democracy by remaining a one united nation despite divergent opinions.
The president said: “I wish to state that during this jubilee year of our independence and as we move towards the new year and first general election under our new Constitution, I urge all Kenyans to promote peace and harmony in our nation.”
To this end, President Kibaki called on all eligible Kenyans to register as voters so as to perform one of their most important civic responsibilities of participating in the General Election scheduled for March 4 next year.
Reminding Kenyans that they held the country’s future in their hands, the Head of State urged church, private and public sector leaders to mobilise eligible voters in all corners of the country to register in order to participate in shaping the country’s destiny.
The president added, “Moreover, as Kenyans meet in churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship this weekend, I encourage our religious leaders to mobilize their followers to register as voters.”
He assured that Kenya is fully committed to utilising science, technology and innovation for the benefit of her citizens saying the many world-leading innovations coming out of the country in the areas of mobile banking, financial transactions and other ICT applications are living examples.
President Kibaki commended Dedan Kimathi University of Technology for striving to orient its academic programmes towards science and technology education and training.
“Since you have now become a fully-fledged university, we expect that you will continue the drive towards making science and technology education your core specialisation,” the president said.
The Head of State encouraged the university administration to continuously benchmark with the best universities in its areas of specialization in the region and globally to remain a truly world-class university and ensure the relevance and global competitiveness of its graduates.
President Kibaki also paid glowing tribute to the founding members of the institution for their commitment and hard work that contributed to the transformation of Dedan Kimathi Institute of Technology to a fully-fledged University.
Speaking during the occasion, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka thanked President Kibaki for bequeathing the country with a rich legacy of not only a new Constitution but also expanded university education.
The vice-president noted that the award of the charter is an honour to freedom fighter and hero Dedan Kimathi, whom the university is named after.
Other speakers included Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Prof. Margaret Kamar, Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi, Commission for University Education Chairman Ezra Maritim and the Chairman of Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, David Wachira.
During the occasion, President Kibaki received a memento in recognition of his service to the university, including being the Chairman of the former Board of Trustees of Kimathi Institute of Technology.
The president also presented the instruments of authority, which included a mace, logo and seal, to the chairman of the university council.