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President’s challenge to EAC varsity team

             

East Africa Affairs, Commerce and tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

By JOSEPH MASHA

Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged Inter University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) to harmonise higher education and training systems through regional quality assurance and accreditation systems.

Kenyatta, however, commended the council for being committed to achieving the goal as it has already put measures in place to develop the systems.

The President made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Cabinet Secretary of East Africa Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie during the official opening of the 5th Inter university council for East African Affairs conference at Sun and Sun hotel in Kilifi County yesterday.

Kenyatta, who is also the chairman of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of States Summit said the council had a lot to do saying education was dynamic and there was a need to keep up with emerging trends.

The President said transformation of East Africa into a common higher education zone is one of the aspirations necessary to operationalise the EAC common market protocol.

“Transformation of East Africa into a common higher education zone is  crucial to operationalise the EAC common market protocol,” said Kenyatta.

Big challenge

He said though transforming East Africa into a common higher education area by 2015 is a big challenge, but he urged the council to expedite the development of the regional qualifications framework as an important step forward.

Uhuru said his government and the people of Kenya will continue to support the council to deliver on its promise to the region and the integration process.

“My government is committed to support the council to enable it deliver on its promise to the region and the integration process,” he added.

He promised that his government would work closely with all the governments of the EAC partner states, the EAC organs and institutions to ensure that agenda is realised in time.

Professor Shaukat Abdulrazak,  secretary of National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovations challenged universities to embark on research programs to join other developed nations on technological competition.

“Universities and scientists need to embark on research programs so that they can come up with new technologies,” said Abdulrazak.

He said it was not fair for developing counties like Kenya to shy away from engaging themselves on research activities, which bring about new technologies.

He said biotechnology was one of the sectors where researchers in the university need to put more effort.

He requested the staff at the State laboratory get the same deal.