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Bottom-Up Approach to Higher Education Reform Advocated at Kenyatta University Graduation Ceremony

Graduation Procession at Kenyatta University

The President of Kenya Mr Mwai Kibaki has set up a task force to align the country’s educational system including higher education with the new constitution.

Professor Justice (Rtd) Onesimus Mutungi, the Chancellor of Kenyatta University,  responded by saying:

“The alignment of education to the new constitution and Kenya Vision 2030 are important process to be undertaken as we pursue development for this country.

“Institutions of higher learning must keep on realigning themselves with the emerging societal changes so as to be responsible to the needs of the society.”

During the university’s 30th graduation ceremony on 1st July 2011, the professor said that universities must strive to provide quality education and training through knowledge generation, research and innovation, creativity and community service.

He told the graduands to demonstrate in their actions their support for good governance in the organizations and places they will be called upon to serve. “Remember that poor governance is a major cause of underdevelopment in Africa,” Professor Mutungi said.

The graduands were challenged to hold a firm faith in the acquisition of knowledge to guide them through their lives. They were admonished to “remember that to pursue one to the discount of others is to open oneself to ultimate regret in older age.”

The Kenyatta University Chairman of the Council, Mr Benson Wairegi said that universities need to go beyond the dissemination of knowledge and research. Mr Wairegi said that universities should embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship as a strategy to propel them as well as contribute to the development of their socio–economic environments.

“Whereas the majority of universities remain either as teaching or research universities, very few universities are convinced of the need to expand their mission to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.

Mr Wairegi said universities’ leadership should believe in the culture of a bottom-up approach to learning and organizational development, whereby all members are empowered to capture and share their wisdom with each other as well as passing the collective wisdom up through the senior management.

The chairman of the council said he has had a privilege to serve several corporate organizations and surmised that successful organizations share “a deep commitment to the vision of quality by all members; the availability of processes that are well communicated and implemented throughout the organization; and open sharing of information across departments and sections.”

He said the university council recognizes the primary role that education, especially higher education plays in the development of a nation. “Therefore,” Mr Wairegi said “we feel we have a solemn duty to support the expansion of the opportunities of access to higher education to as many Kenyans as possible,” adding that “the University council fully supports the transformational strategies adopted by the University Management whose results are changing the face of the institution.”

He said they are encouraging universities to “continue implementing innovative and entrepreneurial strategies for further institutional growth,” as he challenged the graduates to use the skills and knowledge acquired to improve their lives and the lives of others.

About Robert Okemwa Onsare

Robert Okemwa Onsare
Robert Onsare is pursuing Electronics Technology at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton. He is a Cluster Strategy trained facilitator by Kenya's National Economic and Social Council (NESC). Mr Onsare has been an incubation student at the University of Nairobi, School of Engineering, FabLab, a venture project of the university and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a member of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and a published poet. Mr Onsare is based in Kenya.

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