, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – President Mwai Kibaki has urged the youth to resist any attempts by politicians and their supporters to use them as agents of violence during the electioneering period.
President Kibaki asked the youth to instead concentrate in their studies to acquire skills necessary in preparing for future challenges in their lives.
Said the president, “Avoid distractions in your studies as your parents are making sacrifices for you to succeed.”
He at the same time called upon candidates and voters taking part in Thursday’s political party nominations to conduct themselves peacefully.
Speaking during the award of charter and other instruments of authority to the Technical University of Kenya (formerly Kenya Polytechnic) President Kibaki asked Kenyans to effectively play their individual roles in maintaining peace as the country enters the final phase of the ongoing political campaigns.
“Our institutions of higher learning have a critical role to play in the promotion of peace, national unity and harmony.”
Emphasising that peace is the cornerstone of development and must be jealously guarded; the Head of State challenged aspirants of the various political seats to be true democrats who accept defeat and remain humble in victory.
He challenged the country’s institutions of higher learning and tertiary education to impart values that will enable students to become patriotic, selfless and transformative leaders within their communities.
On accreditation of the Technical University of Kenya to fully pledged university, President Kibaki said the institute has entered the nation’s development scene when the institutions of higher and tertiary education must prepare their graduates to cope with the rapidly globalizing and increasingly knowledge-based society.
“As a result, science, technology and innovation have been placed at the centre of this new environment.”
The Head of State said the Technical University of Kenya, as a fully-fledged institute of higher learning was expected to continue the drive towards producing highly trained and innovative graduates in areas such as engineering and the built environment, applied sciences and technology.
“In addition, you must continuously benchmark with the best universities in your specialisation not only in the region but also globally. This is the only way you can ensure that you are a truly world-class technical university,” the president said.
Benchmarking with renowned universities, President Kibaki added, will consequently ensure not only the relevance and global competitiveness of the graduates, but also contribution to the national development and global competiveness of the country.
In this connection, the Head of State observed that the government has taken measures to facilitate the utilization of science, technology and innovation for the benefit of the citizens.
He said the government has also formulated a new National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, with the main objective of creating appropriate capacities for the country’s national needs and priorities.
During the occasion, President Kibaki officially launched Phase One of the Kenya-China Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project which will go a long way in the enhancement of skills through the provision of critical learning and teaching facilities in technical institutions.
The president paid tribute to the Government of China for their support in Technical and Vocational Education training programmes in the country and looked forward to the Second Phase of the project.
Appreciating the mentoring role of the University of Nairobi to the institution, the Head of State commended the leadership, faculty, staff and students for their efforts in making the important achievement possible.
Speaking during the occasion, Higher Education Minister Prof Margaret Kamar challenged Kenyans to change their attitude towards books and become a reading society to fully exploit the benefit of a knowledgeable community.
The Minister further urged newly accredited universities to fully take advantage of the elevations and produce well-trained graduates.
Regarding the Technical University of Kenya, the Minister observed that the institution must play a leading rightful role in technical training programmes in the country.
On their part, the newly installed Technical University of Kenya Chancellor Manu Chandaria and the Chairman of the Commission for University Education Prof Ezra Maritim observed that the institute of higher learning will become a centre of excellence in technical training not only in Kenya and the region but globally.
The Technical University of Kenya is now the tenth public university and the fourth of the fifteen new public universities to be awarded charters in the country.
In attendance were senior government officials led by Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia among others.