SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE 2ND CONGREGATION FOR THE CONFERMENT OF DEGREES AND AWARD OF DIPLOMAS AT KIBABII UNIVERSITY, BUNGOMA COUNTY, 21ST DECEMBER, 2017

On November 16, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

Ladies and Gentlemen,

am delighted to join you for this 2nd Graduation Ceremony of Kibabii University.

It is my joy to be back to Bungoma and to Kibabii University in particular.  Indeed, my visit to this University in 2015 to grant the Charter remains memorable.  The Bungoma people gave me and my entourage the warmest of welcomes.  Today, as in 2015, the people of Bungoma have welcomed me and my team with the same enthusiasm.

am pleased, then, to gather, and to have this opportunity, as the Chancellor, to confer degrees and award diplomas and certificates to our graduands from this young University.  You, the graduands, have worked hard and distinguished yourselves in diverse fields of training. I am informed by your Professors, you are now ready to go out and serve your country.

It is, therefore, right and fitting to congratulate, you, your parents and families, the tutors, and all those to whom we owe this day of joy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

wish to specially commend the tutors, the faculty and the staff of Kibabii University.  This is a young University: your Charter came through only recently.  To set a young university on a firm footing requires special diligence and commitment.

I can’t forget the Council and Senate, who, I know, have worked tirelessly to put in place the necessary infrastructure and facilities that are required for the success of the graduands before us.

It is notable that this University has recorded tremendous progress in the improvement of infrastructure since my last visit in November 2016. The new tuition block that I have just opened and which will accommodate 2,500 students, is, indeed, a good testimony in this regard.

Again, in just a few short years, the University has grown in terms of student population from three hundred and thirty three (333) students to now seven thousand and five hundred (7,500).  And you now have forty eight (48) academic programmes compared to twenty (20) programmes then.

It is fair to say that you have met your challenges gracefully.  You have moulded these young people to compete with their peers, and, more importantly, to become dynamic and inspired future leaders.

As we all know, education is critical to the realization of economic growth, and inclusive and equitable society.  Across the world, universities, by conducting research, are a major source of knowledge and innovation.  It is a fact that social, technological and economic development, presuppose universities that work.

Here in Kenya, universities have and continue to serve a critical role in the development of our great Nation.

By producing a young work force of Kenyans with appropriate skills, we expect the universities to be an important ingredient in our pursuit for a better, prosperous and inclusive society in line with our Vision 2030 blue print.

For this reason, my Administration will continue to support universities and institutions of higher learning, by providing the necessary resources and facilities that they require to produce the human capital we require.

Our aim, as a Government, is to have these institutions to be truly centres of excellence in the service of our Nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The need for creating an even more- stronger research base for sustainable socio-economic development is not only clear but urgent.   That is why my Administration allocated this financial year 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to support research activities.  

I expect our universities to reciprocate by developing research relevant to policy and providing solutions that are implementable.  Research that provides solutions that will transform, on a lasting basis, the lives of all Kenyans.   

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To truly become the vehicles for our desired transformation, the universities must, and I emphasize, must, strengthen their relations and linkage with the industry; only then can we be sure that the skills we teach will match with the requirements of our industries.

 Further, universities should aspire to promote not only skills that are required for new graduates to get employed, but the skills of the entrepreneur, for only then will new graduates create jobs for themselves and, as entrepreneurs, for others.

Ladies and Gentlemen,  

Kenya has tremendous opportunities for young men and women who have these skills.  Teach your students to make the most of them.

Let me also take this opportunity to challenge our universities to work with my Administration to realize the promise I have made to the Kenyan people.

You will recall, on the 12th December, I pronounced the “Big Four” as the underpinning strategy I intend to implement in the next five years.  The Big Four are: Food Security, Affordable Housing, Manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all. 

The aim of my Administration is to ensure that all Kenyans are able to enjoy a level of wellbeing that enables them to live a happy, healthy and productive life.  In executing this agenda, I expect the universities to play a key role going forward.

Let me now turn to the Graduands,

Your graduation today is the icing on the cake of the many years of your hard work.  Today marks the culmination of this hard work, for which you deserve to celebrate.

 But, as you celebrate this success, note that this success signals the beginning of another important phase of your life.   The phase when you are expected to translate the academic success to visible contribution in building your Nation.

 Remember the parable of the talents: the gifts bestowed on you here cannot be allowed to rest unused.   Relish your success, and then go out and serve your family, your community, and your Nation. 

Graduands,

You are the future of this great Nation.  I, as your President, urge you to be diligent and exemplary in whatever you do; uphold the highest level of work ethics; and, most importantly, uphold the highest degree of integrity. 

This way, you will not only improve your welfare but, more importantly, that of your fellow Kenyans.  Do not let down the expectations of all those who have supported your success.

Let me conclude my remarks by once again congratulating you, the Graduands, and wishing you a bright future.  I also wish to take this opportunity to wish all Kenyans a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

But as we celebrate, let us ensure we are careful, particularly as we drive, to avoid any further loss of lives.

Asanteni Sana and God Bless you.

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