Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta has urged universities to equip students with marketable skills in order to grow the country’s economy.
The Head of State was speaking as he presided over the 2nd congregation for the conferment of degrees and award of diplomas at Kenya’s Kibabii University in Bungoma County.
“As we all know, education is critical to the realization of economic growth, and inclusive and equitable society,” Kenyatta told students and faculty at the event, which took place this week.
He explained that across the world, universities are a major source of knowledge and innovation.
“It is a fact that social, technological and economic development, presuppose universities that work,” the President added.
Kenyatta noted that by producing a young work force of Kenyans with appropriate skills, his administration expects universities to be an important ingredient in Kenya’s pursuit for a better, prosperous and inclusive society in line with its development agenda, dubbed the ‘Vision 2030’ blue print.
Vision 2030 is the country’s national long-term development policy that aims to transform Kenya into an industrialized, middle-income economy, providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment.
Kenyatta’s sentiments come at a time when unemployment rates in Kenya remain high as 53% of the population is unemployed, according to a new report by research group, Trends and Insights for Africa (TIFA).
TIFA data has confirmed that Kenyan’s in their mid to late 20s are the largest representatives in the job market. Of these, 33% are employed, 37% are unemployed, and 29% are self-employed. This group is educated, with 54% having attained a university education, 35% have a college education, and 8% have a postgraduate qualification.
To address this crisis, President Kenyatta this week affirmed that his government will set aside about Ksh140 billion ($1.4 billion) for research at universities. He stated that universities are a major source of knowledge and innovation, adding that investing in research would help grow the country’s economy.