Kenya: Universities urged to invest in research, innovation and publications

Africa/Kenya/02-07-2021/Author: Source:

Kisii University Vice Chancellor Professor John Akama has challenged Kenyan universities to seek more resources for research, innovation and publications as a core mandate of university education.

Speaking during the launch of his book ‘Undeterred: A Rural Boy’s Journey to the Pinnacle of Academia’ at Kisii University, Professor Akama said most individuals with doctorate degrees and professor titles have not done sufficient work in research and innovation or published their work.

“One of the guest professors from the University of Toronto told us that the lecturers there are researchers and innovators. As such, the university gets about 50 million dollars in grants for research purposes and through their research, they contribute almost 20 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Canada with new products and scientific knowledge creation,” said Akama.

The Vice Chancellor noted that developed countries had made great strides in the fields of agriculture, industry and medicine due to the quality of university education they offer and urged policymakers to give more emphasis on university education.

“Even the Covid-19 vaccines that we have now have been developed by scientists who work in science labs in universities and therefore, if we undermine research, we cannot develop,” added Akama.

He asked the universities to push for more public-private partnerships from government and private institutions in order to secure more resources for their academic and innovation agenda.

Akama decried an increase in social media engagements as opposed to reading books and urged Kenyans, especially lecturers to interrogate academic work.

The book ‘Undeterred: A Rural Boy’s Journey to the Pinnacle of Academia’ narrates Professor Akama’s unique and personal story of overcoming many odds and succeeding in several fronts to get to the pinnacle of academia and university leadership.

Prof Akama grew up in a simple rural African setting in Kenya’s hinterland, and was raised by a typical Kenyan peasant family with meagre resources and limited frills.

“He went through early childhood enculturation and basic education in rural Kenyan schools, characterized by limited educational resources, scant infrastructure and minimal facilities,” reads part of the synopsis.


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Innovations in systems of education

By Fe Hidalgo

THE Department of Education (DepEd) aims to provide caliber education to vulnerable groups and those not reached by formal education. This will help realize greater equality in known educational outcomes through the Alternative Learning System (ALS).
This is popularized by the DepEd Secretary Briones. The special groups targeted by this project are 11,343 drug surrenderers, children in conflict with the law although they are exempted from apprehension by the law on minors, something which I had spoken of for repeal; 26 rebel returnees, and 180 laborers. The planners will see to it that the ALS learners are aligned with the K to 12 plan for Basic Education to make it relevant and up-to- date. It explains the extent of the competency of ALS relates to the results of a formal school system requirement. Part of the program is the capacity building activities of the teachers and the ALS implementors.
This is extended to countries where children of Filipino migrants will have access to formal education. 100 volunteer teachers are found in Sabah. The DepEd plans to give ALS to the Marawi residents to insure education regardless of critical circumstances. Bakwits children are given Psycho Social activities to help children cope with the trauma of wars. They are provided with drawing sheets and crayons and requested to sketch what they want to draw. The psychologists will then program their debriefing methods based on what are drawn by the children.
UP Mindanao held Inaugural Lectures 2017. The lectures were on various topics on Knowledge X Change. This was held at the Audio Visual Room. The talks were given by faculty members. This caught my attention. The talk is unique in giving personal connections of speaker to an otherwise serious topic. There were talks on Contractualization: a Love Story, Minding the Energy Gap, The Secret Life of Fruits and Vegetables, The Curious Case of Matina Flooding, Wealth From The Poor Man’s Cow. Do You Want to Build A Shelter? Now you know what I mean. All those attending the lectures will not fall asleep.
The Lingap Para Sa Mahirap Program of the city government in partnership with other government agencies provides a one- stop shop medical assistance. Now it caters to 300 clients per day. This started in 2001. It has provided medicine assistance, laboratory, hospital assistance and donors for blood. Lingap coordinates with Southern Philippines Medical Center( SPMC ). DSWD also helps needy residents with the 100 million worth medical assistance from Lingap Para Sa Masa approved by the President. A 4-story building is being planned to be built in the SPMC compound.
City Mayor Sara Duterte promised to fund the hiring of more Madrasah teachers within the city. The comprehensive Madrasah Development Program will verify the need for more teachers. At present they have 130 Ulama and Ustads covering 50 Madrasah schools in the city.
UP Mindanao launches Urban, Regional Planning course and Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning. UP Department of Architecture was the reason we relocated from UP Diliman because my son, Architect Francis was assigned to head this department; now headed by Dean Juanga he is participating in the planned program of development.
DOST to reacquaint nation on Science and Technology Innovations. Science is for the service for the people. The 7 desired goals are: innovation stimulated; technology adoption accelerated; critical mass of globally competitive human resources developed; productivity and efficiency of communities and the production sector; resiliency to disaster risks and climate change insured; inequality in capacities and opportunities reduced; and effective governance achieved.
It is a welcome relief to give you all these promising innovations through Education. At least it fulfilled the President’s ardent dream of change or «Pagbabago.»
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