The government has increased funding to the higher education sector in order to support more needy students, President Mwai Kibaki said on Friday.
Speaking during the award of a Charter to Great Lakes University of Kisumu, Kibaki said that the government will also fund student studying within the East African Community (EAC).
Kibaki urged all Kenyans who have benefited from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to repay their loans.
He also encouraged the private sector to support government initiatives in recovering loans issued through HELB.
“I am pleased that it is now a requirement that in order to qualify for most public offices, one must get clearance from the Higher Education Loans Board,” he said.
Kibaki urged local universities to raise funds for bursaries, scholarships and establish financial schemes for the youth.
“As a result, there are now seven public universities, 24 university constituent colleges and 15 private universities with charters,” he added.
Kibaki said the government will shortly be upgrading thirteen of the constituent colleges into fully fledged universities and therefore increasing the public universities from seven to 20.
To respond effectively to the country’s development needs as envisaged by both the Vision 2030 and the Constitution, President Kibaki said some of the new universities will be dedicated to science and technology education and training.
Kibaki said that the increased production of high quality and relevant human capital will enable the country to participate more effectively in the rapidly globalising and increasingly knowledge-based world.
Kibaki also said by producing graduates who stand up against injustice and inequality, the universities will promote unity and national integration and therefore support the building of the new Kenya as
envisaged by the Constitution.
He noted that institutions of higher learning have an important role in inculcating national values and principles of governance including patriotism, national unity, rule of law, integrity and accountability
amongst the young people.