Education In The News
British envoy pays courtesy call on PS University Education to discuss research funding through the Newton- Utafiti fund
Nairobi Thursday, 23rd February 2016
University Education PS Prof. Collette Suda holds talks on the Newton fund with UK Envoy Nick Hailey
The British Government intends to strengthen her support towards Science, Technology and innovation in Kenya by availing more resources and incorporating other UK partners to support the Newton-Utafiti fund. This was disclosed during a visit by the British High Commissioner to Kenya Mr. Nick Hailey to the Principal Secretary University Education, Ministry of Education Prof. Collette Suda. The PS expressed her gratitude towards the continuing support and collaboration the UK Government has extended towards supporting research in Kenya. The PS further noted that Newton-Utafiti fund is a milestone in Science, Technology and innovation as this will open up opportunities that will enable UK and Kenyan scientists to work together to achieve greater outcomes for both countries.
The discussion revealed that that out of eleven successful applications to be funded under the programme, UK offered to support 5 projects and 3 thematic workshops through the British Council while Kenya will support 3 workshops through the National Research Fund. The PS reiterated the final selected applicants will be awarded next month during the launch of Newton-Utafiti Fund.
The British envoy said the UK also has interest in developing joint research and innovation programmes among academics, business, and government institutions in Kenya and intends to double research funding. Some of the key areas for collaboration under the Newton-Utafiti Fund include food security, Sustainable and renewable energy and Health, Environment and climate change and other cross cutting issues. He added that the Kenya ST&I partnership will also identify gaps on emerging issues while at the same time provide a platform to develop new knowledge partnerships in science, technology and innovation.
A memorandum of understanding between the two countries signed in July last year (2016) pledged to support the two countries collaborative partnership in research and innovation as well as launch the Newton-Utafiti Fund as part of the wider Newton Fund family. The fund is scheduled to be officially launched next month.
Plans on Course to Fast Track a Garment Making Cluster Project in Kisumu County
The newly established Kisumu garment making cluster project is set to improve the livelihoods of Kisumu County Residents once operational. The Director, Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Bashir Mursal observed that once in place, the garment project will provide additional income for Kisumu county residents and the region at large. The Director encouraged the management of Kisumu National Polytechnic to take advantage of the project as it will provide employment opportunities to the youth.
Speaking while representing the Principal Secretary, State Department of Science and Technology in the Ministry of Education, Prof. Collette Suda, the Director noted that such projects play a key role in community outreach and technology transfer. He made the remarks during the opening of a sensitization meeting on the garment cluster project at a Nairobi hotel.
Addressing participants, the Principal, Kisumu polytechnic Joyce Nyajom said the project has been funded under the COMESA programs to the tune of approximately 18.3 million shillings. She said her institution in collaboration with Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology (RIAT) will ensure the project’s implementation is successful. She said the project will provide the youth with skills that will make them self reliant through self employment.
Other partners in the project include the ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as well as Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development. The Principal Ramogi Institute of advanced Technology (RIAT) said this is a pioneer project and its aim is to advance the idea about technology incubation and how it can improve the lives of the local community.
The meeting brought together stakeholders from partnering institutions among them the Director of TVET, Technical University of Kenya Akumu-Owuor. Other cluster initiatives in the country include the beef cluster in Garissa, the Dairy cluster in Rift valley, fisheries cluster in Kisumu and the mineral cluster in Taita Taveta among others.
Kenya fast-tracks establishment of a national research fund
Tuesday 17th March 2014……The government, industry and research bodies have commenced discussions on modalities of setting up a national research fund to accelerate transition to knowledge based economy.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Professor Jacob Kaimenyi said today that the government has prioritized research funding to achieve industrial renaissance as outlined in Kenya`s vision 2030 blue print.“The government has put in place institutional and legal frameworks to facilitate research funding in order for the country to leapfrog into industrial status,” said the CS. He made he remarks in Nairobi during a stakeholders` workshop to discuss the operationalization of a national research fund.
Kenya is signatory to the African Union`s protocol that oblige member states to commit 1% of their GDP to support scientific research. Prof. Kaimenyi said the government has explored innovative mechanisms to scale up funding towards science, technology and innovations.
The National Research Fund established under the Science and Technology Innovation Act, 2013 will facilitate research for the advancement of science, technology and innovation. Kenya’s current allocation for research amounts to 0.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an amount that is negligible compared to the country’s research needs and potential.
“The current investments in research and development remain low. We intend to increase research funding to 2% of GDP through partnership with key stakeholders including the private sector and foundations,” said Kaimenyi. Establishment of a national research fund will spur innovations that are crucial to re-invent Kenya`s economy he added. Prof. Kaimenyi noted key economic sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, education, infrastructure and health will benefit from a national research kitty.
The Kenyan government has been allocating USD 4 million annually to finance research and innovations since 2008. He Cabinet Secretary revealed that an estimated one thousand research projects have benefitted from state funding. “It is anticipated that a national research fund will enable the country harness scientific and technical knowhow to address current and emerging challenges to sustainable development,” said Kaimenyi.
Meru Technical Training Institute Feted As Curtains Close at the National Science Week
Nairobi, Friday 15th May 2015….. Meru Technical Training Institute (MTTI) emerged the overall best institution and also scooped the best robotics project at the just concluded forth (4th) National Science Week in Nairobi.
The week long forum also saw other institutions such as Kisumu Polytechnic, Technical University of Mombasa, PC Kinyanjui and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology scoop various awards at the TVET fair exhibitions. Nakawa vocational training institute of Uganda was awarded the best foreign stand trophy. The event also saw paper and poster presenters awarded with certificates.
Addressing participants at the official closing ceremony, the Principal Secretary, State Department of Education, Dr. Belio Kipsang encouraged participants to commercialize their products so as to promote Science and innovation activities. He noted that scientific research and technological application requires substantial resources adding that investment would help the country in solving national problems such as poverty as envisaged in the vision 2030 blueprint. His remarks were contained in a speech read on his behalf by the Director of quality assurance in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mohammed Mwenyapemba.
The PS encouraged the counties to take advantage of such forums to develop science and technology at the county level. The weeklong event which had been going on at the university of Nairobi, attracted over 150 exhibitors, 30 paper presentations, 20 poster presentations. Over 30 TVET institutions, 3 universities and colleges also participated. The National Science week is an annual event for players in the science, technology and innovation sector.
Government closes illegal colleges
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb-Dt88jF1U CITIZEN TV
4. http://epaper.peopledaily.co.ke/?iid=133018#folio=6 People daily e-paper
Higher Education PS urges scientists to communicate effectively.
23rd February 2016.
Scientists need to develop appropriate communications skills and create new ideas and debunk myths surrounding genetically modified foods (GMO’s) and other new emerging technologies.
While officially opening a two days communications training workshop for scientists drawn from the bio safety authority board and bio safety appeals board at Maazoni, the Principal Secretary State Department of Higher Education Prof. Collette Suda said,“as you are aware, concerns on safety of GMO’s is still an important topic worldwide as evidenced by public statements that we observe in the media”.
Prof. Suda regretted that a lot of misconceptions have been made concerning new technologies in science and appealed to scientists to strengthen their communication and design appropriate messages for targeted groups.” You cannot change people’s mindset and behaviour about new technologies if you do not develop sustained communication for them to believe you”, said the PS.
She asked research organizations to encourage public-private partnerships in order to boost resource mobilization to enable them support their projects.
The main objectives of the training workshop is to enhance the Boards’ skills on effective communication on regulatory processes and safety of biotechnology and its products; principles of message development on biosafety, regulatory process and biosafety decisions.
The training has been organized by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) in collaboration with the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA AfriCenter) and the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS).