President Ruto tours Konza Technopolis, awards charter to Open University of Kenya

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President William Ruto has today toured Konza Technopolis and awarded a charter to the Open University of Kenya.

The tour took place at Konza Technopolis City, famously known as the Kenyan Silicon Savannah, where the President also took part in planting and watering a tree to commemorate the occasion.

Among the dignitaries present during the event were Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) Eliud Owalo, Makueni Governor, Mutula Kilonzo Jr, ICT Principal Secretary John Tanui and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA), John Paul Okwiri.

Additionally, several other Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, members of the Commission for University Education (CUE), Vice Chancellors, and Principals from various institutions of higher learning were in attendance to witness the momentous occasion.

Dr Ruto said the university will bolster 100 percent transition from secondary to higher learning education and urged Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) to include the university in its portal, enabling it to start admitting students in September this year.

He added that everyone including bodaboda, ‘Mama mboga’ or kiosks vendors can also enroll in the online university. Also he added that the university should consider multi-lingual courses online adding that he will personally enroll.

He said,”Each year the universities in the country admits more than 650 students in total but still others are left out, and the Open University of Kenya will give them a chance. This is the people’s university. Wherever you are or doing you can now be in a university by simply logging in in the Open University of Kenya. Open University of Kenya will deliver academic programmes at a  lower cost  to serve many disadvantaged families.”

The digital university, the first of its kind in the region, will offer various degree programs such as Bachelor of Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, Bachelor of Data Science, Bachelor of Technology Education, Bachelor of Science in Business and Entrepreneurship, Bachelor of Economics and Statistics, and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Food Systems.

During the ceremony, reading the words to affirm the charter, Prof. Mike Kuria, the CEO of the Commission for University Education (CUE), expressed President Ruto’s satisfaction with the decision to grant a charter to the Open University of Kenya.

“The President believes that this move will significantly support the advancement of university education in the country,” Prof Kuria said.

The Chairman of the CUE, Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, also spoke about the historical significance of the charter award.

He emphasized that the Open University’s mode of delivery promises to reshape the landscape of university education in Kenya.

Prof Chacha noted, “The establishment of a new university with a focus on open and distance learning is a critical step in meeting the escalating demand for accessible and equitable university education. The Open University of Kenya aims to provide much-needed flexibility and accessibility to learners, especially in an era where technology and online learning have become increasingly essential.”

With the ever-growing demand for higher education, the Open University’s charter will play a pivotal role in meeting the educational needs of diverse students across the country.

President Ruto’s tour of Konza Technopolis, often dubbed the Silicon Savannah of Kenya, further highlights the government’s commitment to fostering innovation, technology, and education.

This visit underscores the importance of creating a conducive environment for both cutting-edge technological advancements and educational institutions that cater to the needs of modern learners.

As the charter award marks a significant milestone in the history of higher education in Kenya, the Open University is expected to make substantial contributions to the nation’s development by producing skilled graduates and empowering lifelong learners.

The government and stakeholders alike have lauded this decision, recognizing the transformative impact it will have on Kenya’s education sector and its future generations.

Konza Technopolis alias smart city covers 5,000 acres. It is located in Machakos, Makueni and Kajiado counties buffer zone, according to reports.