Universities urged to use research, innovation to solve problems Kenyans face

Higher Education and Research PS Beatrice Muganda Inyangala at parliament on September 25, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Universities have been urged to carry out research and innovate to address modern challenges such as food insecurity.

Higher Education PS Beatrice Inyangala, who made the plea on Thursday during a graduation ceremony at South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU), in Kitui County, said: "Hunger and water insecurity are some of the problems created due to impacts of climate change, and which can be sorted out by research and innovation."

The PS who was represented by the director of finance in the ministry, Mr Maina Shira, said universities have a duty to help the government in finding solutions to problems facing Kenyans.

Ms Inyangala noted that residents of arid and semi-arid regions would benefit greatly from science-driven research in both agricultural and livestock production as well as finding reliable solutions to water problems.

"We expect our universities to step in and find solutions to food and water insecurity, especially in arid and semi-arid regions, through research and innovation," the Inyangala said.

Kitui deputy governor Wambua Kanani, who was present, said courses offered at SEKU in dryland agriculture and life sciences, would play a key role in boosting food production and improving the economic status of residents of the region.

Kanani, who represented area governor Julius Malombe at the event, stated that the county government is partnering with the university in food production and improving water security.

During the ceremony, 1,190 graduands were conferred with degrees and diploma certificates.

Meanwhile, Inyangala appealed to parents and university students to accept the new funding model where only extremely needy students will receive 100 per cent funding from the government.

During the ceremony, the university unveiled the new vice chancellor Prof Douglas Shitanda, who takes over from Prof Geoffrey Muluvi.

The university was also praised for initiating TIVET courses at its Migwani, Wote and Mutito campuses where thousands of youths are expected to acquire technical skills to better their lives.