The government will allocate resources to universities and other institutions of higher learning based on the student population and courses offered, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
Mr Ruto said the University Funding Board has been asked to give priority for funding to institutions of higher learning based on the number of students and the programmes as well as courses offered, saying it is the only way to attain education that meets the needs of the country in the 21st century.
He asked county governments to encourage local players to invest in agro-processing, value addition and manufacturing so as to help create jobs and attain the much-needed technological workforce in the country.
The deputy president also urged the private sector to invest in hostels for students so that the government can channel its funds to key university programmes and equipment.
Mr Ruto spoke Friday during the fifth graduation of Maasai Mara University in Narok County.
He asked the Commission for University Education (CUE) to continuously assess programmes offered in universities in order to ensure they are in line with the industrialisation needs of the country.
“We want in future to make sure that funding is based on courses that meet the country’s technological [and] human resource needs,” said Mr Ruto.
The deputy president said it has become clear that industrialisation has driven economies of many countries, adding that the Jubilee administration attaches great significance to education and training.
“For our country to achieve its industrialisation goals, we must have men and women with skills and competencies to drive the agenda,” said Mr Ruto.
He said Kenya should identify its priorities and give more attention to areas that can help accelerate its development efforts especially in the field of technology.
“As government, we are focusing our investments in training targeted at industrialisation to create job opportunities for millions of Kenyans,” said Mr Ruto.
“Academicians should therefore align their programmes to target job creation, wealth and opportunities for the graduands. We can’t achieve this through guesswork but by design,” added the deputy president.
Mr Ruto said the government has used Sh1.1 billion in supporting the infrastructural development of Maasai Mara University and that Sh250 million will be further committed to help in the construction of the institution’s library.
Narok Governor ole Samuel Tunai said his county government will continue to work closely with the university in ensuring it offers quality education which is in line with the development needs of the area.
“My government will work with the university in exploring ways of improving the quality of education at the facility especially in addressing the needs of the people in the county,” said Mr Tunai.
Education Principal Secretary Colleta Suda said the government has carried out major reforms aimed at ensuring quality education.
She singled out a recent audit carried out in all universities with the intention of unearthing cases of mismanagement of resources.
“I want to assure Kenyans that reforms are being undertaken in the sector to ensure the programmes offered in our universities are in tandem with the development needs of the country,” said Prof Suda.
Maasai Mara Chancellor, Prof Philip Ngunjiri, said the university is working closely with the government in ensuring the relevancy of courses offered.
Vice-Chancellor Mary Walingo said the university is collaborating with institutions in China, France and Canada in equipping its library, adding that the move has led to an increase in the number of books from 10,000 to 35,000.