PRESIDENT Kibaki has urged universities to offer solutions to problems affecting Kenyans. Kibaki said the institutions should research on issues such as environmental degradation, human wildlife conflict and climate change.
"With proper use of research, the universities should develop practical and innovative solutions for these problems," said the President. "The institutions should explore existing linkages with donor partners who can provide facilities for research activities."
The President was speaking on Tuesday in Narok, after he awarded a charter to Maasai Mara University, formerly Narok University College.
The institution, which was a constituent college of Moi University, becomes the 15th public university. Maasai Mara University is situated next to the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
"Being close to the Maasai Mara, Kenya's leading wildlife conservation and tourist destination, the university has a responsibility to ensure its academic and outreach activities address the challenges facing the locals," said Kibaki.
Kibaki named Prof Philip Ngunjiri as the first chancellor.The President was accompanied by ministers Margret Kamar (Higher Education), William ole Ntimama (Heritage), Head of the Civil Service Francis Kimemia, the university's chairman Prof Jonathan ole Karei and acting vice chancellor Prof David Serem.
Kibaki said the new Universities Act 2012 marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of higher and tertiary education.
"With the passage of this new law, the government has embarked on the process of establishing 15 new fully-fledged public universities," said Kibaki. "The universities will provide opportunities for the local communities to advance their education by acquiring certificates, diplomas and pursuing short term courses."