18 May 2017

Kenya: National Science Week to Focus On Climate Change, Food Security and Energy

Nairobi — The National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) will next week hold a National Science Week during which exhibitions on the role of science in addressing climate change will be displayed.

The Commission's Director General Dr Moses Rugutt told Capital FM News that the five-day conference will also focus on food security and energy as well as the training of technical courses in the country's tertiary institutions.

"Exhibitions will be in line with five sub themes; climate change and health, indigenous knowledge and food security, social science and sustainable coexistence, drought and flood preparedness, and climate change and energy," Rugutt said on Thursday.

He noted that science is critical to the nation's development, a reality that the government is cognizant of.

Rugutt said that the commission has continued to lobby for establishment of more tertiary institutions especially at the sub-county levels in order to bolster the labour force working in Kenya's industrial estate.

"We need to train for the job market and this is why we are putting a lot of emphasis of technical training so that we have hands on people who can go and get jobs in the market," he observed.

The Director General said that the commission was working with development partners to enhance technical training by acquiring modern equipment urging institutions of learning to embrace changing technology by investing in better teaching infrastructure.

"Technical training institutions worth billions have come into the country and all the Technical Training Institutions that have been completed will all be equipped," he said.

"The equipment existing in universities have changed over the years and the technology too has changed. We need them to also invest in new equipment so that we train our people to be ready to meet the demands in the job market," Rugutt noted.

A study released by CPS International early in the month christened "The State of Sciences Training in Kenyan Universities: Make Science Great Again" indicated science courses were seen to offer more job opportunities compared to arts with 38 per cent of 309 respondents polling in favour of sciences compared to 30 per cent who thought arts provided more opportunities. Another 30 per cent of respondents said both sciences and arts offered career opportunities.

The study conducted between February and April however pointed out that more employers are not confident with the manner in which science training is conducted in the country, 51 per cent of those interviewed saying science graduates are ill-trained.

The report proposed that the government allocates more funding for science training in order to build the capacity of the universities in the country to offer quality teaching in sciences.

Rugutt however said that there was need to limit the number of certificate and diploma courses offered by universities except for certain specialized areas recommended by the Commission for University Education.

According to the CPS International report, five major public universities in the country offer a significant number of certificates and diplomas, with Maseno and the University of Nairobi leading the pack with 34 and 43, and 28 and 15 programmes respectively.

Others were Jomo Kenyatta (28,15), Egerton (7,16) and Kenyatta with 3 certificate and 11 diploma programmes.

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