Kenyan Universities Must Aim for Global Excellence -Cabinet Secretary Dr. Ezekiel Machogu

Cabinet Secretary for Education Dr. Ezekiel Machogu has challenged Kenyan universities to pursue global recognition by enhancing academic standards and aligning programs with industry requirements.

Speaking during the University of Nairobi's 70th Graduation Ceremony on Friday, December 15, 2023, Machogu said it’s imperative for academic institutions, including the University of Nairobi, to elevate their standards and compete on par with world-renowned institutions such as MIT and Oxford. 

He stressed the necessity of tailoring educational programs to meet the evolving needs of industries, advocating for innovation and the cultivation of research excellence.
"Kenyan universities must strive for global recognition by fostering an environment of academic excellence, innovation, and research prowess," said Dr. Machogu in his keynote address. 

Dr. Ezekiel Machogu inspires graduates at the University of Nairobi's 70th Graduation Ceremony with words of wisdom and encouragement for their future endeavours - Photo by Kevin Wamola, UoN

"It's important that our educational institutions align themselves with industry needs, ensuring graduates possess the skill sets demanded on the international stage."
He highlighted the significance of universities embracing innovation and research as pivotal pillars for growth and competitiveness in the global academic arena. 

Dr. Machogu underscored the urgent need for a paradigm shift in academic approaches, advocating for a curriculum that prepares graduates to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.

"We cannot afford to lag. Our universities should be hubs of innovation and research, creating graduates who can compete and excel in the global job market," he continued. 
"It's not merely about obtaining degrees but about equipping graduates with the practical skills and knowledge required in today's dynamic industries."

On the issue of financial challenges faced by universities, including disbursing funds through a new higher education funding model Machogu reassured stakeholders of ongoing efforts to resolve financial difficulties and create an environment conducive to quality education.

The Cabinet Secretary also underscored the government's initiatives to facilitate job opportunities for skilled workers abroad, championed by President Dr. William Samoei Ruto through the establishment of the State Department for Diaspora.

Addressing the transition from the 8-4-4 curriculum to the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), Dr. Machogu emphasized the importance of universities collaborating with industries to produce graduates equipped with relevant skills demanded by the job market.

In his speech, the University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama Gitahi said graduates have exhibited remarkable tenacity and adaptability, navigating through unprecedented disruptions in their academic journey at the peak of COVID-19 from which vital lessons were learned.

“As we did during the COVID-19 pandemic when we swiftly adopted technology for teaching and learning, we must realign our resources to support our core business of teaching, learning, research, and community service.” Said Prof. Kiama.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama delivers a keynote address to graduates during the momentous University of Nairobi graduation ceremony on December 15, 2023, Photo by Kevin Wamola, UoN.

The University conferred 73 PhD degrees, 1583 Master's Degrees, 54 postgraduate Diploma awards, 3534 Bachelor's degree awards, 278 diplomas and 20 fellowship Awards making a total of 5,542 new graduates. 

Among the graduates at today's ceremony was Standard Group’s Persil Telewa, the host of KTN News' Globe Traktion show, who received a Master of Arts in Communications. 

“I'm honoured to have attained my second master's degree today, furthering my journey in understanding the nuances of communication.  This degree will serve as a guiding light in my work, allowing me to dissect complex narratives and connect with audiences on a deeper level.” Said Ms Telewa.

Persil Telewa, host of Globe Traktion show, (Centre) stands proudly among fellow Master's Degree Graduates at the University of Nairobi's 70th Graduation Ceremony on December 15th, 2023, celebrating academic success and new beginnings. 

“Communication isn't just about words; it's about weaving stories that resonate and empower. It's a tool that empowers us to bridge gaps, amplify voices, and shape perspectives in the ever-evolving media landscape." Added Persil.

Fiona Biketi, (Centre) a TV producer at KTN Home, celebrates with her fellow graduates, proudly holding her degree in Broadcast Production, TV at the University of Nairobi's momentous graduation ceremony on December 15th, 2023

KTN Home Producer Fiona Biketi was also among the over 3,500 undergraduate awardees with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Production - Television. 

Their achievements marked not just academic success but a testament to their dedication and contributions to the field of media and communications.