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Set up endowment funds, Uhuru tells varsities

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on public universities to set up endowment funds to boost their expansion and development projects.

He said the funds would encourage benefactors to strengthen their support to the institutions of higher learning.
“Other countries, and other institutions, have learned that endowments give an extra sense of stability to institutions, especially institutions of higher learning that have long relied on public grants,” President Kenyatta said.
The President spoke Tuesday when he laid the foundation stone for the Sh2.5 billion University of Nairobi Tower at university’s main campus in Nairobi.
As Government and development partners support university projects, President Kenyatta asked institutions of higher learning to use funds prudently.
“Of course, with extra funding comes extra accountability.  Those who have supported the university’s ambitions – and here I include my Government and ordinary Kenyans – will expect that their funds be used in the most prudent and transparent manner possible,” the President said.
Emphasizing on effective delivery of service, President Kenyatta defended appointment of older Kenyans to management positions. He said the move would blend experience and energy for improved delivery of public service.
He noted that while majority of public service jobs will go to the youth, there was need to tap the experience and expertise of the older generation.
President Kenyatta said, “I have been accused of appointing old people to the public service but age is not a disease. We also need their experience.”
He said it was time that both civil servants and politicians underwent refresher and induction courses to inculcate a sense of servant-leadership that will drive the country’s development agenda.
The President said corruption and other social challenges facing the country can only be addressed through patriotism and commitment to duty.
“As Kenyans, we need to change our approach to doing things to realize the envisioned transformation that will move the country forward. The country can only be built by our level of patriotism and not the money we have,” he added.
He reminded those in management positions in national and county governments that all public funds entrusted to them must be accounted for as Kenyans expect proper use of their taxes.
The President said before extra funding is approved to the two levels of government, all finances released should be used for the intended purposes.
On improved terms and conditions of service for university staff, the President said the Salaries and Remuneration Commission was charged with the responsibility under the Constitution. He, however, said that excellent work will always be rewarded.
He assured university students of the Government’s commitment to supporting them in realizing their full potential.
“My Government stands ready to facilitate you to crest the clouds and reach for the stars,” he said.
Deputy President William Ruto said the Government plans to construct 60 extra technical colleges – at least one in every constituency – to ensure adequate technical skills for the country’s labour market.
The Deputy President said universities and middle colleges are necessary to provide a balanced workforce to drive the economy.
“Elevation of some middle level colleges to constituent colleges of universities and later to fully fledged universities created knowledge gaps that need to be filled,” the Deputy President said.
Others speakers included Education Science and technology CS Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi, University of Nairobi Chancellor,  D. Vijoo Rattansi and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof George Magoha.


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