Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has graduated the first cohort of thirty Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery students after successfully completing the 6-year rigorous medical doctors degree training programme offered in the School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences.
The University Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u, said, “JKUAT continues to mount programmes that are relevant to the needs of the industry, stating some graduands from the first cohort of Bachelor of Science in Business Computing, had already secured attractive employment opportunities locally and internationally.”
The Chancellor spoke while presiding over the 34th JKUAT and the 5th Pan African University Institute of Basic Science, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) joint graduation ceremony on Friday, November 29, 2019 where 4,739 candidates were conferred degrees and awarded diplomas.
Prof. Ndungu observed that “The University has placed great emphasis on the role of quality training, research and innovation in the realization of the country’s Vision 2030, and the Big Four Agenda, “citing recent institutional initiatives towards the actualisation of the four pillars.
He singled out a collaborative foundry training with the Central Metallurgical Research and Development Institute (CMRDI) of Egypt — a precursor to long term collaboration between JKUAT, CMRDI and the foundry industry towards establishing a center of excellence, which, the Chancellor stated, “once established, will offer training in welding, foundry, material sciences and other skills critical to the realization of the country’s manufacturing pillar.”
On insecurity, Prof. Ndung’u reiterated the Vice Chancellor’s sentiments on students’ security concerns outside the university in Juja and commended the concerted efforts made by the university management, students, security agencies and local community towards finding a lasting solution.
During the convocation, the African Union-led PAUSTI graduated 44 PhD and 70 Masters students drawn from 27 African member states. African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Her Excellency, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, said: “Africa’s sustained growth, competitiveness and economic transformation will require investments in new technologies and innovations, and the spawning ground for such developments is our education, training and research institutions.”
This fact was amplified by the Japanese Ambassador in Kenya, H.E, Ryoichi Horie, who said, the Japanese government is implementing various development initiatives in Kenya and emphasized that “education is one of the most important projects and JKUAT remains the most important project for us. Japan has always been with JKUAT and will continue to be with JKUAT.”
Making her maiden remarks since the appointment of new Council members — Mrs. Winnie A. Omondi, Thomas Mshindi Nyamacha, Gabriel K. Lengoiboni, CPA Bertha Dena Joseph, and Joseph Gitonga M. M’Aciuru — the JKUAT Chairperson of Council, Dr. Gumato Ukur Yatani, assured “the President and Cabinet Secretary of unreserved commitment to the call of duty in pursuit of the attainment of the vision of the university by offering quality and focused leadership towards scholarly excellence.”
Dr. Gumato thanked the outgoing Council under the stewardship of Prof. Paul Kanyari, and expressed the incoming Council’s “commitment to learn and benefit from their 6 years’ hands-on experience that has steered the university to greater heights.”
Commenting on financial constraints occasioned by declining enrolment in self-sponsored programs and inadequate government funding, Dr. Gumato said, “the JKUAT has embraced internal cost-cutting measures such as freezing recruitment except in critical areas ” and called on the government to fully implement the differentiated unit cost funding model to help boost JKUAT’s financial base.
Dr. Gumato commended the government for concluding the national Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for public universities, stating that JKUAT has commenced “the 2017-2022 internal CBA negotiations… a move, she said, “is aimed at motivating staff.”
In her welcoming remarks, the JKUAT Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, congratulated the newly appointed Council and assured them of support from the Management and JKUAT fraternity.”
She informed the congregation that according to Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service, JKUAT is the most preferred training destination for students joining university, with 5,901 admitted into various programmes in 2019-2020 intake, translating to a 5% increase over the 2018-2019 admissions.
This preference, the Vice-Chancellor observed, “Comes with challenges as it puts pressure on existing facilities required for teaching and training especially in science, engineering and technology courses.”
She consequently, raised concerns over the current mode of financing universities that does not take into account these challenges and urged “the ministry of education to expedite implementation of the differentiated unit cost model and to increase capitation allocated to the university.“
Prof. Ngumi was confident, the graduands were competent and ready “to make use of skills and knowledge gained to impact the world positively.”
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